The Government of Odisha on Tuesday, announced that it will be sponsoring the Indian national rugby team till 2023 and facilitate training and conditioning of the players. An agreement was signed at Kalinga Stadium between the Odisha government and the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU).
Sports Director R Vineel Krishna and president of IRFU Maneck Unwala signed the agreement in presence of Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Secretary Vishal Dev, CEO IRFU Naseer Hussain and former rugby player Rahul Bose.
The partnership is a part of the Odisha government’s goal to develop, promote and expand the sports ecosystem beyond hockey, football and cricket. The sponsorship means training, conditioning and incentivizing the Indian national rugby teams will be covered.
‘Historic Day’ – Rahul Bose
Former rugby star Rahul Bose described it as a ‘historic day’ for Indian rugby. “Thanks to this sponsorship from the Odisha, national rugby players (women and men) will, for the first time ever, be paid for their services to the Indian rugby teams. This marks a first, solid step towards making rugby a professional sport in the country,” he said.
Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera said the partnership was significant and said that there was a steady rise of rugby in India in terms of popularity and participation.
“This partnership between Odisha Government and Rugby India will not only help develop the sport of rugby further, but also support and strengthen the high performance training of Indian national rugby teams,” he said.
Odisha has produced some famous names in Indian rugby and this initiative will help nurture young talent who can bring laurels to the country, Behera added.
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