Tribal girls in Jalpaiguri overcome hardships to shine in rugby

Image Source: ANI

By Tarak Sarkar

Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) [India], November 21 (ANI): Overcoming financial and other hurdles, tribal girls at a tea plantation in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, have pursued their dream of playing rugby and several players have found a place in the junior and senior national teams.

The parents of the girls earn Rs 200 per day as tea garden workers. But their difficult financial condition does not deter the young players.

All this was made possible due to the determination of the girls and the initiative of the organisation Jungle Crows. Roshan Khakha, coach and project manager, Jungle Crows, Saraswatipur told ANI, “The organisation was started in the year 2010 with the help of a parish priest. Then we started playing the game and now dozens of girls have found a place in the national team. It feels great to see the passion and dedication of the youth of this area. Rugby has changed the lifestyle of the youth here. Otherwise, we could see them working in the tea plantations or getting married.”

“Other than the rugby classes, the organisation provides workshops, tuitions and other classes, so that their education is not affected. All the children are hardworking and that’s the best thing about working here,” he added.

The coach urged the West Bengal government to provide support, so that the rugby in the state can reach great heights.

“We are getting support from the central government under the project of Khelo Rugby, but we also need support from the state government,” said the coach.

Several Jungle Crows players have represented India in the junior and national teams.

Rashmita Orao, a national rugby player, said that the players persisted despite getting only one meal a day.

“Our parents are poor but that does not stop us from playing rugby. We can make our country proud in the field of sports if we will get adequate support from the government,” said Rashmita.

“Under Khelo Rugby, we have been given a centre to practice and also a bicycle. We use that to commute to our school, as our school is far from our home. But at the end, I am happy about playing rugby as it is a great sport,” she added.

As per the data of May 2016, World Rugby Rankings rated India 77th among the rugby playing nations. (ANI)

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