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Tribal students lift rugby world cup

Hindustan Times | BySoumyajit Pattnaik, Bhubaneswar
Oct 02, 2007 03:44 AM IST

A grand welcome awaits the rugby team of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences. The team will arrive in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday after winning the under-14 World Cup in London, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

A grand welcome awaits the rugby team of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). The team will arrive here on Wednesday after winning the under-14 Rugby World Cup in London. The tribal boys from KISS lifted the trophy after beating South Africa 19-05 in the final on Saturday. After defeating all the teams in Group-B, which included Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya and Romania, the KISS boys clashed with Group A winner South Africa. Like the Indian Twnety20 cricket squad, they did not start as favourites to win the tournament, but ultimately scripted a scintillating title victory.

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The 12-member KISS team, christened as Jungle Crows, was led by Bikash Chandra Murmu. The team comprised of tribal students drawn from various backward regions of the state. Congratulating the team, KISS founder Dr A. Samanta said it was a matter of pride for the entire state as well as for the country.

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Soon after there arrival on Wednesday morning, the KISS boys will meet chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Governor M.C. Bhandare. Then they will be taken to their campus where all the members of the team will be felicitated. The KISS campus has already started celebrating the historic win. According to Samanta, the boys learnt the game fast and they were mentally tough to give spirited performances on foreign soil. "There was no pressure or fear factor. We told them to give their hundred per cent on the field. For us, participating in an international tournament was more important than winning or losing. But they could win the trophy", said Samanta.

All the students hail from poor families. Some of them cannot even make both ends meet. The training started with professional coaches for thirty tribal students initially and twelve players were ultimately picked up to play in London.

Before leaving for London, captain Bikash Murmu had told HT, "At the outset, it was little tough for us to learn this game. But regular training and dedication of the players have facilitated the learning process... We have had no problems with the tackles and pace of the game".

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