Rugby, as a sport in India, is slowly growing both in men’s and women’s category. The sport that originated from England is yet to properly find its feet in the Indian subcontinent. For a sport which demands physical strength, it also gives women a chance to showcase their talent and gain self-belief. Today we look at Shweta Shahi who struggled a lot to find her feet in the sport.
Hailing from Bhadari village in Nalanda district, Shahi was born in farmers family. The 19-year-old was first spotted by in a state athletic event by Bihar’s rugby secretary. The youngster got hooked to the sport after watching videos on youtube but her road to glory was not easy as she hailed from a village where most village girls of her age are married.
In her case, her family members have objected her from playing sport but it was her father who backed her talent. Her maternal uncle was of the view that women shouldn’t play sports said, “Who would marry you?” Rugby is an injury-prone sport. What if I got hurt? He was worried that nobody would want to marry me. If it weren’t for my father’s unconditional support, I would not have reached where I have.
While family issues and money were one part of her struggle having no ground to practise was also a major hurdle. While speaking to Quint she said “I had been practicing on a field but the owners built boundaries around it. I used to cycle 6 kms every morning to train in a school’s playground which had stones and bumps”.
Inspite of trouble her father became her coach and trained her as both of them watched videos on youtube to pick up the tricks of the sport. Their struggle was finally rewarded when Shahi became the only girl from Bihar selected for the national camp in 2013.
Later on, the 19-year-old went onto represent India in the Asian Rugby Seven Series held in Sri Lanka, Dubai and South Korea.
Having represented the country on the international stage Shahi is not only targeting Olympics but also wants rugby to flourish in Nalanda.
(quotes from the Quint)