Bargarh district in Odisha is one of the most backward districts of the country but the girls here have moved ahead in terms of their mindset and ambitions. Not considering their difficult surroundings, the girls here have started dreaming to achieve big and are also working hard to fulfill them. One of them is Nirmalaya Rout, who is representing Odisha in rugby at the 37th National Games in Goa.
Nirmalaya's father Vasudev Raut is a farmer. Apart from her parents, she has two siblings, a brother and sister. Vasudev, despite his constraints, somehow sent his daughter to Bhubaneswar to study. Along with studies, Nirmalaya also took up sports which is helping to have a name in the circuit today. Leading her team and winning Gold in Rugby Sevens at the India University Games 2023, Nirmalaya said, "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.”
She said, “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 says, “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 said, "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 is all set to enter the rugby field with her team in the 37th National Games being held in Goa. Orissa team, which has vowed to win a medal, will give a tough challenge to its rivals with full enthusiasm.