Once considered solely as a man’s game, the sport of Rugby is getting nice traction and positive popularity among the girls in the Kashmir valley. This was visually witnessed when several young women were seen playing Rugby at the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar.
Rugby in the Kashmir Valley
Female rugby was first introduced in Kashmir in 2004 and since then many passionate young women have come out from the region to participate in the sport.
Today, we have a group of girls who with dedication, hard work, perseverance and talent broke the all odds to win over stereotypes. This girl’s Rugby team from Jammu & Kashmir has been in the news for their miraculous victories and unbending attitude towards anyone who has tried to stop them.
When Irfan Aziz Botta, a Srinagar-based industrialist took the decision of introducing rugby to the state, everything went smoothly. He contacted the Indian Olympic Association that organised a camp at Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar in 2004. But hardly any women participated back then. But today, 4000 girls in the state have enrolled for the game with the State Sports Council.
New found love of Kashmiri youngsters – Rugby
Previously cricket, football and martial arts caught the attention of people in Jammu and Kashmir, but now, the lesser known sport of rugby is gaining popularity across the Kashmir Valley.
Like every sport, rugby too is popular among girls, some of whom have taken it up professionally.
Coach Irfan Aziz Boota said a plan has been introduced to turn budding players into professionals.
“We are converting rugby into a professional sport, but our focus is to develop an academy and a rugby school. We plan to take in children to turn them into educated professional players,” said Boota.
“Not only girls, but also boys from, schools, colleges and universities come to play this sport. Training camps such as these help us to increase our stamina and endurance,” said rugby player Sabreena Khan.
“More and more girls are playing this sport, and for the longest time, we were waiting for these types of camps,” said budding player Afreen Ali.
So far, two girls from the state have been chosen as rugby development officers in the country.