Asian Games: Hunger is what drives this Indian women’s rugby team

Asian Games: Hunger is what drives this Indian women’s rugby team

This is only the second time that the Indian rugby team is participating at the Asian Games.

The hunger to win…the hunger to win is all that matters in sport. What did Carolina Marin have when she started her senior career in badminton? Did she have a rich legacy in the sport to follow? Did she have the best competitors in Spain to practice with or even the best coaches in the world? Perhaps not. And yet without all this, she conquered not only her country, or Europe, but the entire world in a sport dominated by Asians.

Look at Neeraj Chopra. Right from breaking the junior world record to a gold medal in the Olympics, there isn’t an accolade that the man from Haryana has not achieved. The hunger to win would have surely played its part here too. In India, where track & field athletes lack the belief to even challenge the world’s best, he did the unthinkable, to be where he is today. He takes on the big boys from Europe as if he owns them, and has a swagger that everyone loves.

It is the same hunger that drives the Indian rugby team too. Nowhere remotely close to where they would like to be as yet, the team under Delhi’s Sheetal Sharma has qualified for the Asian Games, only for the second time ever. The team believes it can win a medal at the event, and also beat some of the higher-ranked teams in the tournament. However, the possibility of winning a maiden medal does not divert their attention from constantly evolving, and being better each day.

In an exclusive interview with InsideSport, the skipper made it clear that the Asian Games medal is not the ultimate goal. What they seek, can’t be defined as of now, and take a lot of pride in representing India, so the sky is the limit for them. “Although it is tough to say what the goal is, everyone wants a medal at the Asian Games too, but that is not the only thing we want. To grow each day, we must set realistic goals for ourselves, and our team prides itself on that. I’ve seen a time when winning a medal nationally was a big thing, and merely playing in international-level tournaments was a big deal. That’s how we’ve reached the Asian Games. We are looking 2028 Olympics too. So there’s a lot to achieve,” said Sheetal.

Sheetal Sharma will lead Indian rugby team at Asian Games 2023.

‘Talking About Hunger..’

Talking about hunger…it is the same hunger, that makes the team believe, they can take on stronger and bigger girls from other participating nations. Size no bar, technique is what Sheetal’s team is focussing on. “From far, it might appear that we can’t take down the big girls, but that is not the case. We have been playing for a while now, and we have experienced ourselves that it is possible to negate the built advantage of players from other teams. We would focus on our strong point, which is the technique. It would be wrong to say that we have not faced problems against the bigger players, but we work well as a unit. Moreover, if rugby was only for bigger players, then only they would be playing it. Our players are hungry.”

Talking about hunger again, it is the same hunger, where despite being a touch nervous due to the magnitude of the Asian Games, the team wants to give a fair account of itself, to the best in the continent, Japan. Although the Indian rugby team has never faced the neighbors, all is possible for such a driven team. “We are nervous and excited both for the tournament.

“Taking on Japan is a big deal, but we are not really scared. They are the strongest team at the Asian Games, but it remains to be seen how they play eventually. We analyzed Japan thoroughly, and have played some of their players too. So we have a vague idea, of what we are getting into. We want to stay confident. We are hungry,” Sheetal concluded.

Indian Rugby Team for Asian Games

Sweta Shahi, Sandhya Rai (Vice Captain), Mama Naik, Kalyani Patil, Vaishnavi Patil, Lachmi Oraon, Dumuni Marndi, Hupi Majhi, Shikha Yadav, Tarulata Naik, Sheetal Sharma (Captain), and Priya Bansal.

Also Read:


Editors pick

Not a fan: Rohit Sharma first Indian player to criticise BCCI's Impact player rule in IPL
Share article
Follow us on social media
Google News Whatsapp channel
Tell us why didn’t you like our article so that we can improve on?