Kolkata loves rugby. Significant efforts are made by Jungle Crows to help utilize rugby as a tool for education and all-round development of children from underserved communities. Here's how one such child grew up to become someone the kids look up to. "Children always like to explore and learn new things. That's how I took to rugby. Growing up in Don Bosco Ashalayam Kolkata, I got to see a craze around the game that seemed to pull me. I wanted to be a part of it and I dedicated myself to it."- Pratap Kundu, program coordinator, Jungle Crows.

"I got a chance to play in various junior level tournaments, and then go study Business Management in Washington State, Seattle with a scholarship from the US Consulate. After coming back to India, I decided to study Sports Management, as I owe all that I am to sports and I believe in its power to change lives. Continuing with my passion for rugby with Jungle Crows, I got an opportunity to play for the Indian team for the first time in 2019. It was a moment of great pride to represent my country."

Pratap Kundu has represented the Indian rugby team

Helping kids and communities

"With Khelo Rugby, we teach the sport in about 35 locations in Kolkata, and we try to help the children mature through the game. We approach the parents and help them establish a direction for the children- the importance of education, the options available to move ahead in life and earn a living. We try to talk one on one with the kids and be there for them."

"I always wanted to give back to the community and the kids. When I look at them today, I see my past and where I used to be. As a kid, I was not a part of any sports activity until I got an opportunity to try rugby, and that changed my life. I want to help as many kids as possible discover the game and discover themselves through the game."

“Whenever I see the children, I know how hard it is. Many times, I see myself in them. It is not just me; all the coaches feel the same. We want to help them grow and be where we are.” added Pratap.

Pratap with the kids

Rugby and education

"Sports and studies go hand in hand. With Khelo Rugby, we look to share the joy of sports with children, and impart life skills such as teamwork, communication, leadership, responsibility through play. We'll play but we'll also teach them that they need to study if they want to continue playing as both contribute to their development. Looking at the joy they take from playing and expressing themselves reminds me of myself when I was in their shoes, when rugby showed me the way. I try to always stay engaged with them and hold their interest in the game.

"Earlier, when we'd encourage girls to take up rugby, it was not an easy conversation with some parents. They'd ask, "Why will girls play rugby? It's a boy's game." Now, the mothers come and approach us on their own to involve their children. It is a very rewarding feeling to see the children become more than they thought they could be.

If you're interested in rugby, come visit Decathlon stores in Kolkata at Decathlon Salt Lake, DecathlonShakespeare Sarani, Decathlon Newtown, Decathlon Garia or Decathlon Park Street Connect to kick start your sport. We've got rugby balls, accessories and apparel for you. You can also browse our rugby collection online here.

Check out Decathlon's Rugby collection
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