There are sports played on the ice and in the snow, but did we think Rugby could be one of them? Kashmir receives heavy snowfall in the winter. Since many traditional sports can’t be played during this time, people are experimenting with regular sports in snow.
More and more women have been practising this sport over the past few years. They have taken up the challenge of sub-zero temperatures in this region and turned to it in their favour. Taking up this high-performance sport heats up their body in these harsh conditions.
Irtiqa Ayub, 20, currently studying at the state capital’s government women’s college said, “I picked up this game purely for its speed, energy level and blood rush. When the ball is in your hands and you race to the goal, it’s an extraordinary feeling”. Currently, Ayub and her team are practising for a national event to be held at Gulmarg on 18-19 February. Surprisingly 16 teams from across the nation registered to take part in this event.
However, Ayub has had her share of problems while taking up this sport. Her father was initially unwilling to let her take up this sport, but when he saw Ayub’s picture and name in local newspapers, he started supporting her. So far, Ayub has been part of 5 national tournaments. She said, “This time I’m practising to lift the trophy”.
Zunairah Ameber, 12, a class 7 student of Oasis public school said that she was a fan and regular Kabaddi player until she encountered snow rugby. “I was good at sports. Winter vacations offered little opportunity to take up anything. I quit Kabaddi to take up snow rugby,” said the rising talent. Unlike Ayub, Zunairah was supported by her father ever since she started taking up sports, as her father was a sportsman himself.
Irfan Aziz Botta, chief coach of the J&K rugby team, said, “Over 4000 girls are enrolled for this sport with the state sports council; we have four female coaches too”. Mr Botta was the first person to introduce rugby in the disturbed region of J&K.
We hope to see them excel at the sport and represent the country at World events.