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This seems to be the start of rubgy as a sport in India officially!
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Land of wrestlers have taken over the turf of rugby – National Games 2022
Almost every village of Sonipat in Haryana has an akhada – traditional wrestling arena – and the rural belt of the district has the credit of producing world class wrestlers, including world championship and Olympic medalists. Ravi Dahiya, who won silver in last year's Tokyo Olympics, hails from Nahari village in Sonipat. Over the years, because of its achievements in the sport, Sonipat is known as the Mecca of Indian wrestling.
Now, the rural belt of Sonipat has taken over the turf of rugby, which is a most popular sport in New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.
Continuing with their dominance at the national rugby scene, two neighboring villages of Sonipat – Nangal Kalan and Kundli – helped Haryana winning back-to-back gold in the National Games.
The two villages of Sonipat contributed 9 of the 12 players in the Haryana men’s rugby team that defeated Maharashtra to grab the top honours in the ongoing 36th edition of the National Games in Ahmedabad on Friday.
“This is our second gold in the National Games and since 2017, Haryana has not lost a single game at national-level tournaments,” says Sarvinder Dabas, a former international rugby player and the president of the Haryana Rugby Association. “Though the sport has its mark in almost all the districts of Haryana now, the contribution of Nangal Kalan and Kundli villages are unparalleled.”
The rugby in Haryana was started from Sonipat’s Khanda village in 2005 and from there moved to Nangla village and the boys from the nearby village Kundli started joining them.
“Initially we had a tough time in making people aware about rugby. But now rugby is quite popular in our and nearby villages,” says Prince Khatri from Kundli village. He is the current Indian skipper and three more from his village have made it to the Indian team. “Around 40 to 50 boys practice rugby daily at our rugby ground at Nangal Kalan. Every time we win medals at national-level, more boys get inclined to our sport,” says Tilak Raj, member of the National Games gold medal winning team.