Following a 50-day rigorous training camp in Kolkata, the Sheetal Sharma-led 12-member Indian women’s rugby 7s team is ready to give its best at the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games.
India, ranked seventh in Asia, has been placed in Pool F and will start its campaign against Hong Kong on September 24. Defending champion Japan and Singapore are the other sides in the pool. The top two teams will qualify for the semifinals.
“No matter whosoever is the opposition, we have been taught to never take a step back. It will be the culmination of our hard work at the camp,” said Sheetal, who captained the team that finished fourth at the Borneo 7s held recently in Malaysia.
“It has been a challenging and exciting journey over the past five years, leading up to the Asian Games. The passion and relentlessness in each of these players is what has facilitated this opportunity,” said head coach Ludwiche Van Deventer from South Africa.
Indian Rugby Football Union president Rahul Bose expressed his confidence about the team. “This is the best prepared squad we have. We owe it all to our coaching staff that have prepared our players mentally, physically, and psychologically for this,” he said at the team announcement ceremony on Wednesday.
Utility: Sweta Shahi; Flyhalf: Sandhya Rai (vice-captain), Tarulata Naik;
Scrumhalf: Dumuni Marndi, Sheetal Sharma (captain);
Forward: Mama Naik, Vaishnavi Patil, Lachmi Oraon, Shikha Yadav, Priya Bansal; Winger: Kalyani Patil, Hupi Majhi.
Coach: Ludwiche Van Deventer.