The Indian under-18 girls’ team on Sunday clinched silver medal in the Asia Rugby U-18 Girls’ Rugby Sevens Championship at Tashkent.
The Indian team, comprising Odisha trio Tarulata Naik, Mama Naik and Nirmalya Rout, won two of their four matches – against Kyrgyzstan and hosts Uzbekistan — in the round-robin league to qualify for the semifinals.
Helped by the tribal girls from Odisha, who study in KISS, the Indian team outplayed Kazakhstan 24-7 in the last-four clash, to avenge their round-robin league defeat. But in the final, the Indian girls came up short after a close fight to lose 17-21 against the UAE.
The Indian U-18 girls’ team is supported among others by Government of Odisha and KIIT, who are high performance partners, while Societe Generale is the financial partner and official bank. The Odisha government, keen to make the state India’s sporting hub, sponsors the national hockey teams.
“This is a great moment for Indian Rugby. Both teams scored three tries in the final… No disgrace losing like that. For our U-18 girls team to perform as well as they did is all the more remarkable because they were 15 years old when the pandemic struck. They have never played a national tournament, leave alone an international championship. This is a new day for Indian Rugby. We go onward and upward from here,” said Rugby India board member Rahul Bose who is an actor, director, philanthropist.