Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government and the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) signed an agreement today to sponsor the Indian national rugby teams for next three years till 2023, and facilitate high performance training and conditioning of the players.
Director- cum-Additional Secretary, Odisha, R Vineel Krishna and President, IRFU, Maneck Unwala signed the agreement in presence of Minister of Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, Tusharkanti Behera; Secretary Sports, Vishal K Dev; CEO, IRFU, Naseer Hussain and actor, director and former Rugby International player, Rahul Bose; IRFU Board Member and Head of Odisha Rugby, UK Mohanty and senior officials of Sports and Youth Services Department at the Kalinga Stadium.
The sponsorship will be extended towards training, conditioning and incentivizing the Indian national rugby teams (men & women) participating in international rugby events.
Speaking on the occasion, Sports Minister, Behera highlighted, “This is a significant partnership for us. In recent years we have seen a steady rise of Rugby in terms of popularity and participation, particularly the participation of young players due to the commendable efforts of Rugby India. And this partnership between the Odisha Government and the Rugby India will not only help develop the sport of rugby further in Odisha and India, but also support and strengthen the high performance training of Indian National Rugby Teams. “
Odisha, which has produced some famous names in Indian Rugby, has been promoting Rugby amongst other sports disciplines. “ We hope this initiative will help nurture young talent, create a pathway from grassroots to elite and produce more players who can bring laurels to the country” he said.
Rugby India President, Maneck Unwala said, “We thank the Government of Odisha with special mention to the Department of Sports & Youth Services for their continued support. On behalf of Rugby India, I am pleased to welcome them as Associate Sponsors of the Indian National Rugby teams.”
He further added “The Odisha Government is dedicatedly working towards their vision of ‘Sports, a priority for Odisha’, by developing the state as a hub for major sporting events and creating international standard high-performance training centres in multiple sports for the country”
Commenting on the occasion, Rahul Bose said, “This agreement is a solid step towards making rugby a professional sport in the country. I am eternally grateful to the Sport and Youth Services department, Government of Odisha, for what they have done for not only rugby but sport as a whole in our country.”
After sponsoring the National Hockey teams in 2018 for a period of five years and later supporting the ISL team –Odisha FC, Odisha has set another benchmark by sponsoring the National Rugby teams.