Though ‘touch rugby’ is a popular sport in England and many European countries, its now that its slowly getting popular in India. For a nation that is crazy about cricket, it’s not easy for a new sport to find its ground here but touch rugby is slowly making its own fan base. The sport is completely different from normal rugby and struggling to become more mainstream.
Internationally India is ranked 6th in the Mixed Under 20 category, but the sport is struggling to receive much support from the Government. It was 18 years ago that Tarsem Chand Sharma had started the Federation. After retiring from the Sports Authority of India he has been instrumental in the development of the team and it is because of his efforts that Touch rugby has got so far in India. Without his leadership, all that the Federation has achieved would not have been possible.
Inspite of all the effort taken by the federation the sport is struggling to get funds and support from the government. Speaking to Sportswallah Anshika Srivastava, who is referee with Indian touch rugby federation of India said “When i started playing the sport in 2011 the response has not been great. We were really facing difficulties to get the support as the sport was not registered in the country. Our struggle is still going on and we have sent file to the Delhi government twice, but it was returned back. While our team has been registered internationally, but it is still to get recognition here”.
“We sent file to sports ministry as well but still we did not get recognition. Getting Fund for the sport is also an issue as the kids who train with us pay from their own pocket. The team had earlier been training at a playground in Tuglakabad and lack of funds for booking a proper ground, we have to make do with the lawns of India Gate.” she added.
The India Under-20 touch rugby team last year went to Youth World Cup in Malaysia, and fought well with other teams but ended up losing all the 10 matches in the tournament. The journey though was not an easy one as it was difficult to arrange funds as 90 percent of the players belong to low-class families. The federation then decided to arrange fund through
crowdfunding platform, Ketto for the team’s participation.
Like other sports, the development of touch rugby is also essential. If funds are allocated to such lesser-known game in the country, then there are high chances that the sport might end up having a bright future.