CHENNAI: The India team’s rugby 7’s coach Pale Tauti feels that Indian players, despite the lack of facilities and funds, are resilient and good at focussing on the task at hand. “Indians are very resilient and get on with the task, no matter the setbacks. The rugby team members too are good at keeping out external factors and concentrating on their game,” he said, on the sidelines of a press meet held here on Monday, regarding the Asian Rugby 7’s Olympic pre-qualifiers that will be held in the city on March 7 and 8 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The event is being conducted by the Tamil Nadu Rugby Football Union (TNRFU), under the aegis of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT). It will be played in both the men’s and women’s sections, with the other teams in the former being Uzbekistan, Iran, Philippines, South Korea and Guam. The men’s section will also see Iran, Uzbekistan, Laos and UAE in action. There will also be a developmental event happening simultaneously, involving India A, Bangladesh and Nepal, the latter two of which are new members of the continental rugby union. Arul Venkatesan, the star winger of the Indian men’s team, says that the sport has become his life and has taken him places as well. “Having started off at a corporation school in Thiruvanmiyur, where none of us had any clue as to what this game was, I am thankful of this opportunity. Vinayagamurthy, a former national team player, was the one who introduced the game to us and taught us the basics. I myself came across the sport only by chance, and now I have travelled to more than a dozen countries as a result,” said the 24-year-old who also made the national squad for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Pale added that with proper guidance and infrastructure, Indian rugby can go a long way. “The men’s team has a good mix of talent, youth and experience, and it’s important to have good chemistry as well. I would say that these players are ready at the Asian level, but have a long way to go globally. We have made a good start, however, and if we can get a few players with speed and flair, along with the right facilities, then there is no reason why they cannot succeed on the world stage,” he signed off.