This story was originally posted here and is reproduced here, after kind permission form Mr. Paul Walsh.
In 2019 World Rugby launched its ‘Women in Rugby’ campaign showcasing inspirational stories of women from around the world who had overcome the odds to play. The campaign was encapsulated with the #TryAndStopUs hashtag which resonated globally. These inspirational women were “unstoppable”.
Bringing the campaign up to date Asia Rugby is now searching for the regions next generation of unstoppable rugby women. Rugby India asked for nominations from clubs across the country which resulted in more than 60 entries. A shortlist was drawn up from which a panel chose three women to send forward for consideration by Asia Rugby. What a tough job it must have been to select the shortlist. But also how great to be a part of the process and see so many incredible stories. We’ve seen from 15 years of the Jungle Crows how rugby has grown from having zero women’s participation, to women in rugby now leading the way. We see inspirational and unstoppable women across the country taking the game forward. It’s very special.
Three of our Jungle Crows were shortlisted for consideration by the panel, Sangita, Lachmi and Sandhya. All with incredible stories, all unique in what has made them unstoppable.
Sangita was one of our very first Jungle Crows players, taking up rugby along with a career in the Kolkata Police and a busy athletics schedule. Promotions, marriage, having a baby, none of this stopped Sangita. Winning with the Crows and representing India. She remains unstoppable.
Lachmi is one of our young up and coming players from Saraswatipur. She has already represented India and shown her mettle. In 2020 she was awarded a scholarship as part of the Jungle Crows support from the Decathlon Foundation. She has moved to the city and is already attending classes. Totally unstoppable.
Sandhya has already shown herself as a bright light on the Indian rugby scene. Playing at age grade and senior levels with the national team. Selected by Kolkata’s American Centre to take part in a global women’s leadership project Sandhya spent two weeks in New York. She also represented India in Japan at the Jenesys programme in 2019. Always unstoppable.
It was a magic moment to hear that Sandhya was selected to go through as one of the nominations from India. She will join unstoppables Vahbiz Bharucha and Sumitra Nayak as the three nominations from India as a part of the campaign.
So inspired was judge Archana Sahay from Dell that she immediately organised laptop computers for all 12 of the shortlisted candidates.
To see our Jungle Crows women excel in the game we love is very exciting. To see India do so well in the women’s game should not really be a surprise, Mother India is unstoppable.
With nice timing the campaign has also come along at the same time as Khelo Rugby has their October theme as Girl Power. The UN Day of the Girl on 11 October this year will have as its theme “My Voice, Our Equal Future”. The UN focus will be on the demands:
Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS
Learn new skills towards the futures they choose
Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change
It’s pretty amazing to feel part of such important campaigns and to see so many young people in our communities standing up for their rights.
Keep going our unstoppable women.