19-year-old Indian Women’s rugby player, Sweety Kumari, has been named as the 'International Young Player of The Year' by a popular women's rugby website Scrumqueens. The winners were announced on December 30th 2019 after a public poll of 10 nominees from around the world.
Sweety, who hails from a small village Nawada in Barh tehsil of Patna, was previously picked as 'continent’s fastest player' by Asia Rugby.
Sweety, whose father is a labourer and mother is an Anganwadi worker, started off as a sprinter following the footsteps of her brother but later switched to rugby on insistence of state rugby association.
Scrumqueens on their website described why the young Indian prodigy was picked for this honour.
"All of our nominees made a major impact on the game having started their careers at clubs or schools but only one began after forming her own team", Scrumqueens wrote on its website.
“She impressed from the start, but it was this year that she started making a big impact scene in Asia at both sevens and fifteens. Described by Asia Rugby as the continent’s fastest player, her explosive pace and power has resulted in her top-scoring at most of India’s Sevens tournaments, as well as scoring two outstanding tries their first ever test match win against Singapore”, Scrumqueens further wrote.
Sweety was 14 when she came to know about rugby. She researched everything about the game on her own. She then created and organised her own team and entered the state championship. Three years later, she made it to the India's U-17 team and in 2019, she made the cut into the senior national side.
She caught the attention of the rugby world in 2019 after a stunning try against the Philippines at the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship, however, India lost that match. But three days later, she scored two tries against Singapore and helped India win their first-ever International Women’s 15s victory.
“People now ask me for autographs”
Sweety is now treated like a star in her home state Bihar and the young girl is enjoying every bit of it. The state has promoted rugby to the level of sports similar to cricket and has started offering jobs to skilled rugby players.
“When I walked in 10 minutes late for an exam once, the invigilator started talking to me about my game and others clapped. They let me write the exam with an easy let-off”, she said.
In Pacific nations, she was followed by fans asking for signatures.
“In Laos, they all pointed their shoulders to me, asking me to sign”, she recalled.