Royal Air Force Rugby Team in Kolkata
Kolkata, 21 June 2012
A 17-member Rugby team from the British Royal Air force (RAF) is visiting Kolkata for an eight-day tour that will see them compete in the Calcutta International Sevens Tournament at CCFC and support Khelo rugby among some of Kolkata’s disadvantaged communities.
The RAF Rugby Sevens team (www.rafrugby7s.co.uk), named after the iconic spitfire fighter plane that was once deployed over the skies of Kolkata as air defence, is visiting Kolkata for the second successive year. The Spitfires visited Kolkata last September to play, coach and teach children about the sport of rugby.
The RAF, along with all the services in the British Military, is enthusiastic about its sports, and rugby in particular has a long tradition within the armed services. Rugby Senvens is the shortened version of rugby and was played at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and will be played in the 2016 Olympic Games. India has a growing international presence in Rugby Sevens.
The Spitfires will focus on two main areas during their visit – to support the work and activities of ‘Khelo rugby’ (http://www.facebook.com/Khelorugby) a Kolkata sports development programme run by city club the Jungle Crows. (http://www.junglecrows.com/) and to play in the Calcutta International Sevens at CCFC.
Khelo Rugby was started in 2010 by the Jungle Crows to take their passion for rugby into the lives of children who would not normally get the chance to play any sport. Khelo today has regular rugby coaching in eight disadvantaged communities across the city and even has a fledgling programme in Chennai. The Khelo Rugby programme is led by Zaffar Khan who is the current Captain of the Jungle Crows and has played rugby for India. Brigadier Brian McCall, the Defence Adviser at the British High Commission in New Delhi and a former international rugby player for Ireland will also participate in some of the events.
The Spitfires will spend time in a number of Khelo Communities coaching and playing with the Khelo children. Throughout their stay in Kolkata, the members of the Spitfires will be engaged in various social outreach events and on Tuesday 26 June the RAF Spitfires will organise a Khelo Rugby Tournament for the Khelo children.
Khelo Rugby is the Social Development programme of the Jungle crows Charitable Trust which takes sporting opportunities into disadvantaged communities in Kolkata.
Khelo Rubgy bring adventure, challenge and excitement into children’s lives. We aim for Khelo Rugby to support a youngster in developing confidence and self awareness. Khelo Rugby provides a release to emotions and energy in a coach controlled environment. Khelo Rugby is about much more than the rugby; our ambition is to develop communities of children that can learn and work together.
The importance of sport in the development of every child is vital in terms of their whole well-being; Health, Mind, Body and Spirit. Khelo brings this into the heart of communities.
Khelo Today - June 2012
Kolkata: We now have 11 Khelo locations across the city and in the last 2 months have added Howrah Dhapa and Kolkata Dhapa in partnership with Irish NGO Goal. We Coach more than 300 children each week across Kolkata.
West Bengal: We have now conducted 4 Khelo Rugby events at 4 schools in Jungle Mahal led by our Coach Sailen Tudu who is a native of the area.
Jharkhand: Khelo Rugby now operates from Dumka and Jamshedpur. We are yet to put permanent Coaches into Jharkhand but we aim to do so by the end of 2012. Our biggest tournament yet took place in February in Jamshedpur with over 100 youngsters involved and playing.
RAF Spitfires Rugby
In 2011 we were delighted to be able to host the Royal Air Force Rugby 7s Team, the Spitfires. They coached across our Khelo Rugby network and then brought all the children together the organise a Khelo Festival at Nawab Ali Park. The Spitfires have now also taken up Khelo Rugby as one of their charity partners and will be back in June 2012 for another visit.
Khelo Coaches not only coach games and rugby activities to the children but they also deliver sessions to develop important life skills. These have in 2012 included hygiene and road safety and it is our intention to offer a new subject each quarter and plans are in place to develop a curriculum for malaria prevention, food and nutrition.
We have been delighted with the level of support we have received from companies interested in partnering with our Khelo Rugby Programme. We are now developing a model where corporate will be able to support our activities in a very practical way by organizing and running a Khelo Festival. We’ll take care of the rugby, gather the children and teams within the company will manage and run the event.