Bhubaneswar : Rugby India is proud to announce the names of the 3 Unstoppable #WomenInRugby that will represent India at the Asia Rugby Unstoppable campaign!.
- ~ Vahbiz Bharucha
- ~ Sumitra Nayak
- ~ Sandhya Rai
Sumitra tasted her first international success at the Asia Women’s Rugby Championship in 2019. It was her final penalty kick against Singapore which helped the Indian women’s team to bag bronze medal at Manila.
Sumitra Nayak was born in Odisha’s Jajpur district and lived under abject poverty, barely surviving on two-square meals a day. Her father, a drunkard, used to return home late and often abuse the mother and beat her. When she could not bear any more, she brought siblings and Sumitra to Bhubaneswar. Sumitra was only four years old at that time.
In a new city, with a lifestyle much different than in her village, Sumitra’s mother Gayatri, initially struggled for a job. Unable to find any, she was forced to work as a maid for long hours, in order to provide basic facilities to her children.
While working at one of the houses, Gayatri learnt about K.I.S.S. and its facilities, and enrolled Sumitra in 2008, without a second thought. Sumitra was instantly drawn to a ‘strange game,’ which her friends informed was called ‘rugby,’ and soon the girl from the slums was very interested in the sport.
It was love at first sight with rugby for her. Though she loved physical sports, she couldn’t play any games in the village, because girls were not given that freedom. Even if she showed interest, the villagers would comment that sport is not for girls. Fortunately for Sumitra, she had the backing of her mother, who asked her to break the notions of the society and follow her heart.