Monday, June 21, 2010

10 from city make it to Asian Games women’s rugby probables’ list

Rugby Football Sports(RFS), Pune has proved yet again that Pune is the hub of women's rugby in India. Ten of the 36 shortlisted as probables for the Asian Games belong to the RFS Pune team.

They are - Surabhi Date, Avani Sabade, Vahbiz Barucha, Niharika Bal, Gayatri Salunke, Neha Pardeshi, Shruti Marathe, Vashnavi Sose, Ketaki Khare and Annapurna Bothate. The 36 core probables were selected from 12 teams across the country on the basis of their performances in the recently concluded All India Women's sevens tournament held in Delhi. These 36 will take part in a five-month long camp at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City, Balewadi, that will commence on July 3. The squad will then be cut down to take part in foreign tours, including a 15-a-side tournament which will take place in August, before readying itself for the Asian Games women's rugby sevens tournament which will be held in November in Guangzhou, China

According to Surhud Khare, the coach and president of RFS Pune, the girls thoroughly deserve their place in the squad from their recent showing and this achievement clearly shows Pune's dominance in women's rugby. “We are still on top and are the strongest team in terms of quality. During the tournament in Delhi, I was very impressed with the focus of the girls. Their hard work done a month before the tournament clearly paid off,” he said. He also added that the difference in this tournament was that the girls dealt the opposition crushing defeats en route to the final. “We were ruthless”, he said. Another added advantage for women's rugby in India is that the sport is being backed by the Government of India, with a view to a strong performance in the Asian Games.

“This will mean government funding for the sport, which will in turn mean that the girls will have the benefit of more foreign tours,” said Khare. He also added that it will be easier for the girls to take leave from their schools, colleges or the government institutions where most of them work. With the hard work that he has put in with the Pune girls, Khare will expect at least half of the selected girls to make it to the final squad of 12 for the Asian Games. 

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