Six feet tall, abs of steel, muscles that would give Hercules a complex – when one hears about rugby, this is probably the image that shows up in one’s head. Immediately the game cues one’s mind to think of muscular players roughing each other up in a battle for the ball, on a grass field.
But when you come across, Heena Kampani, your perception of the game might change. She’s not your average “rugby player” – standing at 4 feet and 11 inches tall she’s soft spoken, gentle and not someone you might think can take you down in a tackle.
Heena first came in touch with rugby when she joined the women’s rugby club at Societe Generale. While she is sporty by nature and takes home awards for table tennis and other games, to her rugby turned out to be something quite different. It required that the ball be passed backwards – quite the opposite of the approach for most sports. She took some time to get used to it. But once she understood it over practice sessions, she turned out to be quite a great rugby player. Relentless on the field, she wouldn’t stop when an opponent approaches and she would even fight for the possession of the ball, despite being smacked in the face!
Rugby World Cup 2019 once again drew Heena to the game. She participated in the matches in Bangalore as a part of team Déjà Vu. They had won the regional matches and qualified for the APAC Touch Rugby Charity Tournament in Hong Kong. While Heena is strong on the field, the matches represented something special – raising funds for children of NGO partner, Magic Bus Foundation. To her, this was a wonderful opportunity to use sport for positive impact.
After the matches too, the experience has left Heena in a state of euphoria. The challenging matches, the team spirit, coaching and getting to play ‘internationally’ will always remain special to her. But above all, the experience of helping children from Magic Bus Foundation get to experience Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan has found a special place in her heart.