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India Rugby at Asian Games 2023: Full team, Schedule, Medal chances

India, whether in the men's or women's category, has never clinched a medal in rugby at the Asian Games. Can the women's team create a historic moment in Hangzhou?

India Rugby at Asian Games 2023: Full team, Schedule, Medal chances

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 23 Sep 2023 6:21 AM GMT

A group of seven Indian women will walk out in the group stages of the 2023 Asian Games in a sport not much associated with the country - rugby.

Rugby made its debut in the Asian Games back in 1998. The Indian women's national rugby team is making just their second appearance at the Games. The women's team is the only representative in rugby as the men's team was cut out based on not being among the top-ranked nations in Asia.

Their recent performances have shown promise, but they find themselves placed in Pool F alongside Hong Kong China, Japan, and Singapore – all teams ranked higher than India. Consequently, the path into the knockouts promises to be a tough challenge for India.

Indian women's Rugby Sevens team

Dumuni Marndi, Mama Naik, Tarulata Naik, Lachmi Oraon, Kalyani Krishnat Patil, Vaishnavi Dattatray Patil, Sandhya Rai, Hupi Majhi, Sweta Shahi, Sheetal Sharma, Shikha Yadav, Priya Baisla

READ | Breaking stereotypes: Untold journey of India's Rugby heroines

Fixtures of Indian Rugby Team

The rugby sevens of the Hangzhou Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou Normal University Cangqian Athletics Field from September 24 to September 26.

September 24: Hong Kong China vs India (9:35 AM IST)

September 24: Japan vs India (2:40 PM IST)

September 25: India vs Singapore (8:45 AM IST)

Cup/ Shield game schedule

September 25: Shield S: 3rd E vs 4th F (2:05 PM IST)

September 25: Cup S: 1st E v 2nd F (2:30 PM IST)

September 25: Cup S: 1st F v 2nd E (2:55 PM IST)

September 26: 5th place: Winner Shield S vs 3rd F

September 26: 3rd place: Loser Cup S vs Loser Cup S

September 26: Cup F: Winner Cup S vs Winner Cup S

India at Asian Games 2023: Medal Chances in Rugby

The Indian women's rugby team achieved the runner-up position at the Asia Ruby Sevens following a remarkable campaign in Indonesia last August.

But India finds itself placed in Pool F, a group that includes formidable opponents in the form of Hong Kong China, Japan, and Singapore. All three of these teams hold higher rankings than India.

Japan, the top-ranked team in Asia, leads the pack, with Hong Kong following closely in second place, and Singapore securing the fourth position in the rankings. These rankings underscore the significant challenges that the Indian team, currently ranked 7th in Asia, is set to confront in their pursuit of a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

While recent performances have shown promise, it remains a daunting task to get out of the group stages.

India at Asian Games: Rugby Records

Best Previous Finish - 7th

Rugby was introduced into the Asian Games in 1998, but India has never managed to secure a medal in either rugby union (15 players a side) or rugby sevens (7 players a side) at the event.

In the case of Rugby Union Men, India did not participate in the two editions held in 1998 and 2002. On the other hand, Rugby Sevens Men have been part of the Asian Games since 1998, and India participated in 2006 and 2010, finishing 8th and 7th, respectively.

For Rugby Sevens Women, this category has been included since 2010, and the Indian women's team participated once in 2010, finishing in 7th place. The upcoming participation of the Indian women's rugby team in Hangzhou marks a significant moment as it's their first appearance in the Asian Games in 13 years, offering a promising opportunity for the team to make history.

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