Khelo Rugby takes the Oval Ball to Rajasthan
As told to Shreyas Rao
The Khelo Rugby team was recently invited by the Jaipur Bulls team to conduct a 5 day training program for children playing with them in Rajasthan. This came as a great opportunity for us to go into a new location and teach the game to new people. Two of our Khelo Rugby Coaches namely Nanda Majhi and Ajay Balmiki and two of our young Jungle Crows stars Sabirul Peada and Amit Pandey jumped on the train in Kolkata to travel to Jaipur to conduct the training.
The training sessions were divided into 2 segments – a morning session for the seniors who were getting ready to play the National Games qualifiers and evening sessions for the under- 12s. 100 children took part from two different communities and were taught tag-rugby. On the last day of the training camp a tournament was organized by the Jaipur Bulls under the supervision of Nanda and Ajay which had 10 teams of Under-12s. It was a great experience for everybody involved, especially the children who all loved having the the chance to learn a new game.
From the Coaches:-
Coach Nanda: The senior Jaipur Bulls players involved were very sincere and genuinely happy to learn. They also showed a keen interest to implement the Khelo Rugby in about 4-5 communities. They said that they will also aim to go to the schools. The response was very good and enthusiastic from the children too. They were coming from all over and a long way to play every day. I think that Jungle Crows can grow more with tie ups like this. And in the end, the icing on the cake was that the team I coached won the tournament!
Coach Ajay: Initially the children that we began coaching did not know any tag rugby and they were only tackling, but the ground was very bad. We had to teach them from the basics. However, they improved a lot because they we were talking a lot to each other and were respecting each other. In the end of our sessions, they used to lift the coaches with joy! Each day a few more girls joined in as well which was good, and the number increased from 2 to 6 to more than 10 in the end. As we were leaving on the last day, many of the children were crying which made us feel sad and happy. This was my first experience with communities outside and though language was a bit of an issue, it was a great experience.
Coach Sabirul: This was second time I went for coaching outside of Kolkata after my experience with Mirik. On the first day I was quite nervous but when I met the seniors, I felt better. The children were all nice. The first day it rained and all the children ran away but the next day onwards it went fine. On the funny side, I got mixed up with my language and kept giving instructions in Bengali very often! This experience has given me more confidence and I hope to be able to go to more new communities.