Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], August 22 (ANI): In a first after the Covid lockdown, the district-level Rugby Championship is being organised in all districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including Srinagar, where the games are being held at the Polo Ground.
This championship is a collaborative effort between the J&K Rugby Association and the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council. It aims to provide a common platform to players to showcase their skills, tap on opportunities to build their future in Rugby and contribute to the promotion of the sport in the region.
After the relaxation in the Covid curfew, the government allowed the sports authorities to restart outdoor sports activities.
Speaking to ANI, Irfan Aziz, Chief Coach of the Jammu and Kashmir Rugby team, said: "We are here for this district-level championship in which 14 teams are participating. The pandemic had made children extremely agitated and stressed. We were waiting for some SOPs and they were eventually released. That is why we started this championship which will cover 16 districts. South Kashmir has been covered. Games are still on in North Kashmir. We hope that over 4,000 children, both boys, and girls participate in this. It is a good opportunity for them to go out and express themselves."
Saarib Qazi, an international Rugby player, said it was difficult for players to practice individually in the last two years after the Covid pandemic began.
"It is indeed a blessing of God that we are getting to participate in such a tournament. For the last 2 years, it was difficult for players to practice individually and for teams to come together. J&K Rugby Association's efforts have restored a lot of excitement within the players and the community. Tournaments like these are extremely important from a player's perspective," he added.
Players participating in the championship also expressed their happiness.
Arbaz Manzoor, a player, said, "We were frustrated sitting at home due to corona. So when we got to know about this tournament, we thought we would get to do something new. We are having fun, it is an enjoyable sport. Rugby needs a lot of practice, speed and technique. Rugby is getting popular at the school level. It is very important to have tournaments like this to take the sport everywhere."
"Covid had locked us inside with our smartphones. These events should take place more often. There was a weight-lifting event too. I play weight lifting too. It is a good effort by the government to revive and introduce various sports. We want that more sports are played and people to participate in them. It can help tackling issues of phone addiction, drug addiction and give them a scope to do something in life," said a player named Karman. (ANI)