Bargarh district in Odisha may be considered one of the most backward districts in the country, but it’s heartening to see that the girls there are breaking barriers and pursuing their dreams with determination. Despite the challenging circumstances they face, these girls are ambitious and striving for a better future. One such inspiring individual is Nirmalaya Rout, who is representing Odisha in at the 37th National Games in Goa.
Leading her team and winning Gold in Rugby Sevens at the India University Games 2023, Nirmalaya stated, “My childhood was very difficult, the financial condition of the family was not good and we were three brothers and sisters, it was difficult to survive in such a situation without much facilities.”
Nirmalaya’s father, Vasudev Rout, is a farmer, and the family faces financial constraints. However, this did not deter them from supporting Nirmalaya’s aspirations. Her parents sent her to Bhubaneswar to pursue her studies, and it was there that she discovered her passion for sports. Through hard work and dedication, Nirmalaya is now making a name for herself in the world of rugby.
She stated, “I have also played in Junior National and Senior Nationals for Odisha. The Junior National was held in Bihar in 2022. In that, our team got the second position whereas, in the 36th National Games (Gujarat), Odisha’s team was the champion and won the gold medal.” On the advice of her father, she left the village and headed towards Bhubaneswar, where she took admission in Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, and it was there that she saw the game for the first time. Nirmalaya states, “When I came to Bhubaneswar for the first time, I saw this game. I liked it and got engrossed in it. Now I see my bright future in it.”
She further stated, “Ever since I started playing rugby, my family’s financial condition has gradually improved and I now want to give a better future to my siblings and represent the country in the same game.” The 18-year-old player, who was part of the Asian Rugby Under-18 Championship (Kathmandu) silver medal-winning team, says, “I feel a little scared before every match, but as soon as the first match is over, the excitement of winning automatically fills me. And seeing the enthusiasm of the team, I get the courage to compete boldly.”
Nirmalaya, along with her team from Odisha, is ready to compete in the 37th National Games in Goa. Despite the odds, the Odisha team is determined to perform well and aims to bring home a medal. Their enthusiasm and commitment will undoubtedly pose a tough challenge to their rivals on the rugby field. Nirmalaya’s story is a testament to the power of determination and passion, proving that where there is a will, there is a way.
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