Capital to host Asia U-18 rugby tourney

The state capital has been selected to host the Asia Rugby Sevens Under 18 Girls' Championship.

By Our correspondent in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 7.04.18
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ON-FIELD ACTION: Under-18 girls practise rugby at Kalinga Stadium. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: The state capital has been selected to host the Asia Rugby Sevens Under 18 Girls' Championship.

The tournament will be held at Kalinga Stadium in January 2019.

"We have been approached by India Rugby Football Union for hosting of the championship," said an official of the sports and youth services department.

He said that the acceptance for hosting the event had been approved by the chief minister. "We have informed the union and will hold a meeting to discuss the details, " said the official.

The championship will be held for the first time in the country. The first edition of the championship was held in Dubai in 2016 while the second edition was held as part of the Paris World Games in 2017. This year, it will be held in South Korea.

In the first edition of the championship, the Indian squad finished third which Hong Kong bagged the gold medal. In the Paris World Games, the Indian girls won silver.

"It is great news that India is making strides in rugby," said Unit III resident Akash Mitra, a sports lover.

Sources said Bhubaneswar was approached to host the event since a number of Odia players are part of the national rugby team. Among the 12-member under-18 girls national rugby team, five are Odias including captain Sumitra Nayak. The other players are Basanti Pangi, Rajani Sabar, Lija Sardar and Soni Mandangi.

"It is a matter of pride for the state that so many players from Odisha are playing in the under-18 girls rugby squad. Rugby is not so popular in the country but with a little effort, it can. I will definitely be in the stadium to encourage our girls," said Sumesh Ojha, a resident of Patia.

Over the past one-and-a-half years, Bhubaneswar has successfully hosted the Asian Athletics Championship, Hockey World League and Hero Super Cup. It will also host the Men's Hockey World Cup in November this year.