Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik welcomed the Webb Ellis Cup (Rugby World Cup) trophy at the State Secretariat here on Friday.
The state capital city is the third Indian city which the trophy travelled to after Delhi and Mumbai.
Patnaik said, “It is good to witness the excitement around the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour in India. Odisha is the nursery of rugby in India and our players have brought laurels for both the state and the country. We are also the proud host of the Asian U-18 Women’s Rugby Sevens in October. I wish to encourage more kids come forward and play the sport of rugby.”
Adding to the CM, Odisha Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera said, “Odisha has always been at the forefront when it comes to promoting sports. We take great pleasure in having the coveted Rugby World Cup Trophy which has come to India for the first time. Rugby is quite popular in our state and our athletes have won medals both nationally and internationally. Apart from the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, we are also organising Asian U-18 Women’s Rugby Sevens in October this year. We hope for all the youngsters to get inspired by the trophy and take up the sport of rugby.”
The Trophy Tour also visited Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) for a Get Into Rugby training session delivered by Rugby India players and coaches in front of the Webb Ellis Cup.
Thousands of enthusiastic staff and students of KISS, which has some state and national rugby players, gave a rousing welcome to the trophy.
The Webb Ellis Cup was also pictured at the iconic Konark Sun Temple in Puri district.
This is the Webb Ellis Cup’s first visit to India – one of 18 nations that will host the Trophy Tour in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
World Rugby aims to attract and retain 1 million new players in Asia through Impact Beyond and Get Into Rugby programmes.
Rugby World Cup 2019, the ninth edition of the third largest global sports event, will be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2, 2019, and is the first time the tournament will be hosted in Asia.
The two-year Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour is underway visiting 18 countries aiming to inspire and engage new and existing rugby players and fans.
The Trophy Tour supports World Rugby’s Impact Beyond Programme which aims to use World Rugby tournaments as a catalyst for the growth of the game.
Project Asia 1 Million, part of Impact Beyond, which aims to attract one million new rugby participants by 2020, has already reached over 500,000 people across Asia.