KOLKATA, 7 JUNE: About 120 children, girls included, from some of the city&’s poorest communities tore around Kidderpore&’s Nawab Ali Park this afternoon, vying for victory in the Jungle Crows Foundation’s annual Rugby Sevens tournament.
As in previous years, the Royal Air Force Spitfires ~ the British air force’s rugby sevens team ~ were also there to help out with the tournament. Mr Paul Walsh, who runs the foundation which gives rugby coaching to kids throughout the year, said it was about giving a “very organised sporting experience to these kids.
“Perhaps the kind of thing that kids in the West or middle-class kids in India sort of take for granted.” The aim is also to give these children a chance to play, he said. “Most of the kids who are here have never had the chance to play sport in any organised way.” The children said they were having a great time, some adding that they almost liked rugby as much as cricket.
Brohit Mondal (13), captain of the winning team the Bears, clasped his golden trophy and said his parents would be “very happy” to hear his team came top. To keep excitable kids in line is not always easy, but this year the Jungle Crows were helped not only by the Spitfires team, but also by Mr Ellis Miller, a professional referee and member of the London Society of Referees. Mr Miller paid for himself to come and referee the games.
He was particularly impressed by the girl-dominated Snakes team, which finished third.
“Earlier one of them clipped a boy right round the ear,” he said. Mr Nicholas Avery, a lawyer from Cambridge, was also watching the children jostle on the dusty patch of land. Mr Avery has been raising money back in the UK to fund the Jungle Crows.