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Rugby Tournament

12 Kolkata boys gear up for rugby tournament in Monaco

Team from Future Hope gets invitation to participate in international event

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 07.04.24, 04:35 AM
The rugby team members and others

The rugby team members and others

When an 11-year-old boy was told about a month ago that he would go to Monaco to play rugby, he had no idea where the place was.

He looked up a world map to find out.

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Twelve Kolkata boys who fight difficult circumstances every day in life will be playing rugby in Stad Louis II, this month.

The team from Future Hope has been invited to a rugby tournament in the principality of Monaco, which will also host teams from South Africa, France, Ivory Coast and many more.

The Sainte Devote International Rugby Tournament is an international rugby competition for under-12 children.

“It is a matter of pride for our city that our children have been invited and their talent has been recognised. This is fulfilling and it goes on to show that they can be noticed and get an opportunity, too,” said Sujata Sen, CEO, Future Hope.

The group will leave Kolkata on April 14 for Nice (France).

The boys will stay at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in France and travel to Monaco every day for the tournament.

“I had no idea about Monaco. But now I know it is a country next to France,” said the 11-year-old.

The boys from Dhapa, Kidderpore and other neighbourhoods, are sweating it out every morning and evening on the Maidan.

Monaco is one of the preferred holiday destinations for the
world’s rich and famous. Besides the azure Mediterranean, Monaco is known for the Formula One Grand Prix.

Twenty-four teams have been invited to play in the tournament.

“Being invited to take part is a sought-after accolade for any rugby team,” said an official at Future Hope.

Everyone at Future Hope is eager to see the team captain, carry the Indian flag at the opening ceremony in front of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene (of Monaco).

But while that will be a coveted moment, it has been a “crazy few weeks for people at Future Hope,” to get the passports done.

Not everyone could get a passport.

“Initially there was a group of 30, from which the final 12 will travel. Now everyone knows who all are going but there is no envy among those who are not, rather they practise with the boys who will travel,” said mentor Paul Walsh.

The boys are from Khelo Rugby, a sports development project that is part of the NGO Future Hope.

While there is excitement among the boys, there is also some degree of trepidation.

“What will we eat?” “What will the other teams be like?” The Telegraph heard some of the excited boys ask. Fielding such questions, fuelled by curiosity and excitement, has become part of the job for the coaching team.

One adolescent is looking to board a plane for the first time. “I want to see how small things look up from above,” he said.

Another one chipped in. “Planes are always flying over our house. I have looked up and wondered where the people are going. Now I can’t wait to be up there,” he said.

Sen expressed hope that it is an experience the children cherish for life, whatever the outcome of the tournament is.

Last updated on 07.04.24, 04:35 AM
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