Indian rugby celebrates as Maharashtra clinches Wheelchair Rugby title
Maharashtra wins big in the 5th National Wheelchair Rugby Championship, defeating Karnataka 31–10 in the largest-ever national event with 120+ athletes from 14 states
Maharashtra beat Karnataka with the final score 31–10 in the finals at the recently concluded 5th National Wheelchair Rugby Championship 2023 held at Balewadi, here from 10-11 September.
The championship was conducted by The Indian Rugby Football Union (Rugby India), the sole governing body for the sport of rugby in India, in association with the Wheelchair Rugby Federation of India and Mitsubishi Corporation. The championship received an overwhelming participation of over 120 athletes from across the country.
“The growth of wheelchair rugby in India has been astonishing. Ten years ago, 6 players played the sport. Yesterday, 14 states participated at the National Championship which Maharashtra won. At Rugby India our view is very simple — whatever format of rugby you want to play, wherever you want to play, whenever you want to play, you will always have our support. Nothing gives us greater happiness than players with ball in hand dashing (on a wheel chair or otherwise) for the try line!” said Rahul Bose, president, Indian Rugby Football Union, at the closing of the event
This National Wheelchair Rugby Championship 2023 marked a major milestone for Wheelchair Rugby in India. With the participation of 14 states, the event was the largest national wheelchair event that Rugby India has hosted till date. The states participating were Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and host Maharashtra.
The semi-finals were played between Karnataka and Haryana with Karnataka winning 9–7 and Maharashtra and Bihar, in which Maharashtra triumphed with a score line of 22–13. Maharashtra and Karnataka faced off in the finals where Maharashtra emerged victorious with the final score of 31–10. Bihar won the 3/4th place match against Haryana 23–9. The 5–8 positions went to Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
“I have been participating since the first edition of these championships which were held in Patna. I was desperate for the opportunity to compete at such a stage since I am quadriplegic and competing in Wheelchair Rugby is a massive achievement personally for me and other athletes," said Bhavesh Trivedi, captain of Maharashtra.
These championships held in Pune organised by Wheelchair Rugby Federation of India and Indian Rugby Football Union are the best national championships so far and I am proud to have captained the Maharashtra team to victory. Thank you to the organisers and everybody involved for such a fantastic championship,.”
Earlier in the week, the Japan Wheelchair Rugby Federation also hosted a day-long wheelchair rugby workshop, where coaches and experts from Japan worked closely with the athletes from all participating states.