Bhubaneswar: Hailing from a primitive Tribal community of Odisha has not deterred Muna Murmu from scaling new highs in the sporting arena. He has been making the state proud for last four years by representing Team India in senior Rugby Tournaments. Playing a game which is not that popular in India, he has been consistently performing well for the national side.
Born in a Santal family at Chudanga in Khurda district, Muna first came to Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar as a Class-5 student and showed inclination towards athletics. He got into playing Rugby professionally after being inspired by the KISS team's victory in the Under 14 Rugby World Cup held in London in 2007.
Speaking to odishatv.in, Muna says, "In 2007, some Rugby experts from abroad came to scout talents for an Under 14 tour but I missed the bus because of my age. My interest towards the game increased after the Under 14 team won the championship in England."
After his solid performance in the Under-16 National Tournament, he was selected for the Indian U-19 Team in 2010. He gives credit to Rudrakesh Jena, the then coach and currently Assistant Sports Director of KISS for his success at various international competitions. He seems satisfied with his life and feels blessed to see a smile on his parents' face after his success.
"Whenever I travel abroad, my parents feel proud after getting to know about my success in international games," said Muna.
After making his senior international debut in 2013, Muna is a permanent winger in the side because of his skills and ability to run fast. Recently, he played for Team India in the Asian Rugby Championship Division-2 in Taiwan.
KISS has appointed him as a Rugby coach after he completed his Post Graduation in Political Science from KIIT University this year. He is now busy in guiding the young Rugby players of the institution, many of whom have now played international tournaments in the junior category.
"He is very aggressive, talented and hardworking. Now, he has better experience after representing India for four years. We are using his experience and knowledge for the junior boys and KISS has appointed him as a Rugby coach," informed Rudrakesh Jena, Assistant Director, Sports, KISS University.
India Under-17 player, Narsingh said, "He is our coach and because of his guidance and support, I have grown as an international player in the junior category."
"As he is an experienced player, his coaching is very helpful for us. Whatever he gets to know from other coaches during the international tournaments, he passes it on to us. We are very happy that after playing here with us, he is now our coach and guiding us," said Sumitra Nayak, a junior international Rugby player.
Son of a farmer, Muna Murmu's story is certainly an inspiration for many. After his individual success, Muna is now dedicated to the Team's performance and also wants to produce more and more international Rugby players from the state.