Not often do you have women engage in physical sports such as rugby simply because the game is yet to become a rage among the masses.
Come Saturday, 27th August 2011 a host of international players including seven from Pune will be seen in action during the National Women Rugby Sevens Tournament at the Pune Police HQ Ground, Shivajinagar.
While it goes without doubt that the growing interest for the sport amongst Pune’s youngsters is huge, the fact that it has caught the attention of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) who did not hesitate in deciding that the third edition of this annual event be held in the city.
Among the stars to be seen in action, city-girls Avani Sabade, Surbhi Date, Vahbiz Bharucha, Niharika Bal, Neha Pardeshi, Annapurna Bhotate and Ketki Khare are expected to keep the city interest alive as Pune will field two teams in the tournament.
IRFU President Pramod Khanna, said, “I am pleased with the fact that the Pune?s women GenNext are fast developing a liking to the sport. Our effort of reaching out to cities is paying off and Pune is a prime example of how the sports? masses have made the city a top priority when it comes to scheduling IRFU events.”
The two-day National Tournament in Pune will feature a total of 20 teams from across India. The tournament will be divided in two divisions – Eight teams to feature in Division-I and 12 teams in Division-II.
Participation has been confirmed from teams from the following cities/states…
Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore,
Orissa, Delhi, J&K,
Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh,
Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Pune.
The tournament will also be a platform for selection of the probables to join the training camp for the Indian National Women’s Sevens Team that will represent the country at the upcoming Asian Women?s Sevens Championship to be held on 1st & 2nd October, 2011 in Pune.
In the two previous editions of the tournament, Pune Rugby Football Club emerged victors in 2009 at Mumbai, while Jungle Crows (Kolkata) topped in the 2010 at New Delhi.
Aga Hussain, Vice President, IRFU, said, “IRFU is keen to make Pune the hub of women’s rugby because it is a vibrant city and an educational destination having a huge pool of talented youth. From the very inception of Women?s Rugby, Pune has taken the lead. In fact, the first Indian team comprised of a majority of Pune players. One of the main reasons for this, we have observed, is the tremendous support and encouragement provided by parents.”
The abridged version of the tournament for women is being held for the first time in the city. Each Sevens team consists of 10 players (7 playing and 3 reserves) and is played over two halves of seven minutes each way with a minute break in between.
Matches will be played daily from 9.00 am onwards.