Kashmir– the land known distinctively as the paradise on earth has been the Political Battle Field and reason for the lethal rivalry between India and Pakistan. The Valley of indelible beauty has witnessed some of the major tussles in the history (you can find an alternative to convey the same meaning-may be tussle or defeats) and many subdued stories that either stayed untold or died before they were born. Sabotaged by politics and timely war, this paradise has fuelled the zeal of many scholars, sports stars and other famous personalities. Lost in hope of peaceful mornings and bright future, some has kept ray of hope alive among people, who have seen intense destruction in the last few decades. This Valley has immense talents, great intellect and strong penchant for sports. Even amid these political turmoils people in this valley have never let their passion and love for sports die, and with their unwavering zeal have continued to produce top sports icons, some of them have even managed to carve a robust place in hall of fame at many set bar even at international and National levels. One such stalwart Star produced by this valley is Sarib Qazi, who has not only played Rugby for state and country but has given a new name to the whole Rugby community of valley He today stands tall as one of the venerable names in the rugby community in country as well as at international level.
The young boy had a humble beginning. He started off his rugby journey at the age of 14 years, when one of his friends, Hanan Sabiq, first introduced him to the rugby, who was already playing at district level and was then the captain of State junior rugby team. The first question this young boy with flamboyance asked was, “what to do with the ball?” His friend replied, “Hold in arms, run through people and never look back”. The boy named Sarib Qazi took his gamesome words seriously and embedded them in his head and heart. And today one can see him priding at biggest stage of Rugby Coming across all the possible barriers and breaking old jinx of the state, this sports star has unflinchingly made it to the top among the state, later in country and now ready to imprint his worthiness his mark in England for British Asian Rugby Association (BARA).
Sarib began his early education in Burn Hall School-one of the most reputed schools in the valley and it was during this period that the young Sarib found his passion for football. It was at Burn Hall where Sarib learned few tricks and adorned his school’s wall with medals and trophies. Even though he spent his crucial time in playing football, he excelled well in his studies too and even managed to get the top rank. Even before giving wings and roots to his Rugby dream, Sarib had already become one of the favorite scions of the state’s football community. Sarib has never left any stones unturned to impress the sports community and has defeated many schools in tournaments and clinched laurels and trophies. After completing his high school in Kashmir, he headed towards Delhi where he joined SRM College of Engineering. Even after graduating with flying colors in Electronics and Communication, he did not stray himself away from his Rugby practice and continued to strive what his heart desired. He played many matches there and represented Delhi in National Rugby Tournaments and won many trophies with the team
Very soon, he became a celebrated name among the best players in the country. Through his passion, consistency, dedication and swift athletic skills he managed to pique the interest of the Indian Rugby Federation, which was followed by his selection in the national team- Indian Rugby Team by the concerned authorities. While recollecting the memories of his first international match, he said, “I played my first match for India against Philippines in Asian5Nations Championship in 2010 at Vientiane, Laos”. He further added, “I was selected for India camp after being the maximum try scorer in the All India National U20 Rugby Championship”. During his stint in the selection camp, Sarib made sure to remain undeterred with his performance and ensured to stay tight in the first playing team where 23 players were being selected from the top 60 players. After getting into the national squad his dreams didn’t stagnate here he kept moving and pacing to be recognized as one of the best player in Rugby world. “ In the tournament, Indian team secured the third place and I was the top scorer for the country with 5 tries, 4 conversions and 2 penalties, total of 38 points”, Sarib said. Scoring a hat trick of tries in India team’s final match against home team Laos, the young boy was immensely being praised by the selectors, his team mates and within no time he gained huge fan following, within Rugby world and beyond.
Failure never disheartens this young player and instead he takes it in his pride to achieve new heights “On the last day of the camp, I injured my right hand finger in a trial game and needed 5 stitches on it. Even after making it so far they could not select me for national team squad, citing reasons of my injured hand”, he quoted. He didn’t allow his failure to make way to a life of dejection and continued to work hard. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed and many Rugby veterans accolade him for his striking performance and penchant for rugby. While playing in Delhi, he met Sir Alex Murphy, the privileged member of Rugby Football Union who got impressed with Sarib’s execution and introduced him to Ikram Butt- founder of British and Asian Rugby Association. And very soon he got admitted in one of the renowned universities of England- University of Leeds. With his brilliant rugby tactics and skills, he had managed to woo the university’s rugby team and acquired selection in the same team. He further added “In England, from the first day Ikram welcomed me and after hearing good reviews from Alex about my game, he invited me to join and represent BARA- British and Asian Rugby Association,” BARA empowers more and more Asians to play rugby and encourages them to get involved with rugby.
With his performance, discipline and dedication, Sarib Qazi has been selected in Playing Squad in BARA(British and Asian Rugby Association). Annihilating all the barriers, he will be making his debut for BARA on 31st August 2015 at Saracens, Aviva Stadium. Saracens created history by winning their first Aviva Premiership Rugby Championship on May 30, 2015 at Twickenham. The boy is about to make some huge strides in rugby and for his state when he will represent Lincoln Rugby Club in England this Septemeber. Sarib is contracted to play full season with them and will represent the oldest team from Lincoln over many leagues and cup fixtures.He is keen to help aspiring rugby players from his state and support them to carve a niche in same league. Even after achieving heights the rising rugby star likes to stay deep rooted to its home-ground and still participates in the state rugby squad. He has also played American Football where he was selected for Delhi Defenders in Elite Football League of India for session-1. Leaving his mark even there, he was awarded ‘EFLI Most Valuable Defensive Player for Quater1 – Season 1’. An inspiration for many, this rugby star has an affable demeanor which is undoubtedly evident from his grounded and humble responses.
“There is still much more to learn and give,” he added.
Rugby Career Highlights of Sarib Qazi
- International Indian Rugby
- India Vs Philippines ( Asian 5 Nations ) Vientiane
- India Vs Kazakhstan ( Asian 5 Nations ) Vientiane
- India Vs Iran ( Asian 5 Nations ) Laos
- India Vs Laos (Asian 5 Nations) Laos.
- HIGEST POINT SCORER FOR INDIA with 5 tries and 18 points off the boot in 4 test matches.
- Lahore-Delhi International Rugby Cup – Winner January 2012 . o
- Man of the Tournament, Fair Player Award
- All India National 7s Championship – Plate Winner 2014
- All India South East Asia Club Rugby Championship Sep 2007, Sep 2009.
- All India State Snow Rugby Championship (March 2009).
- All India Under-20 National Rugby Championship (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
- National Level Football Subroto Cup 2006
- Inter University Football Championship as Captain of SRM University –IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee and SRM Brailey.
- Represented Delhi Defenders in the Elite Football League of India (International League),the first American Football league in Asia.
- EFLI Most Valuable Defensive Player for Quater1 – Season 1
Written by Syed Rufaid Qadri
Edited by Karishma Borkakoty