COVID-19: Rugby players provide oxygen cylinders, ration to help families in need

As the country battles the second wave of COVID-19, Rugby India has come forward to aid people by providing them with essentials items like oxygen cylinders, rations, and hospital beds to fight the pandemic.

Rugby India players have joined hands with Wolfpack (a group of volunteers) and NGO Goonj to create a war room from where the whole team operates to help people in coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We started helping people during the first wave but the second wave was more challenging for us as we saw people having different requirements this time for example oxygen cylinders, concentrators, and hospital beds,” Saif Ullah Khan, national development manager of Indian Rugby Football Union told ANI.

“We started planning and verifying SOS messages, our team used to talk to the people and we tried to fulfill requirements. Our team collaborated with non-rugby players who also wanted to help during the grim situation,” he further said.

“We collaborated with Wolfpack (a group of volunteers) and NGO Goonj to create a war room from where the whole team operates,” Saif added.

The development manager cited how rugby as a sport helped the players and union in managing out the resources for the people who were in dire need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sport is a medium which tells us how to deal with pressure and be disciplined. Just like rugby, it’s a team game we had a team which consists of people who allocated resources, verified leads and then distributed,” said Saif.

“So this is how we are trying to do our part. The spirit of rugby which is about togetherness and moving forward as a team has helped us in the relief work. We got tired but we didn’t stop our relief work,” he added.

Rugby player Aslam lost his father due to the unavailability of an oxygen cylinder but he vows to work hard to make sure nobody faces what he encountered due to COVID-19.

“We are working for the relief of people in this second wave fulfilling different types of requirement like oxygen concentrator and hospital beds,” said Aslam.

“The values of rugby are helping us in this time to deal with the situation just like we handled the pressure while playing in the field.”

“The toughest task is when we have to choose between a 16-year-old kid and a 60-year-old person. My father died due to COVID recently and I was in line to arrange an oxygen cylinder for him but got a call saying he is no more and that particular day I decided that now I will work hard and not let anybody die due to lack of oxygen,” Aslam added.

Another rugby player Deepak said that they are doing 300-400 calls per day to ensure each and every person in need gets the oxygen cylinder.

“Since the start of COVID, we’re helping people. We were doing 300-400 calls in a day to enquire about oxygen availability. Based on availability, we send people to different places to get oxygen cylinders/refill,” said Deepak.

Meanwhile, India’s daily COVID-19 cases continue to decline further as 1,65,553 fresh infections were recorded in the last 24 hours.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), India on Sunday reported the lowest single-day Covid-19 rise in 46 days with 1,65,553 cases reported in the last 24 hours while 3,460 people succumbed to the COVID-19 infection taking the total COVID-related death toll to 3,25,972.

The cumulative number of the COVID-19 cases has increased to 2,78,94,800, with a daily positivity rate stands at 8.02 per cent, which is less than 10 per cent for the sixth consecutive day.


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