Christmas spirit is well and truly in the air in India thanks to the generous support of the Leeds Rugby Foundation. Thirty junior rugby shirts have been dispatched to the Kashmir region providing much needed playing kit to a nation that has seen rugby development rise dramatically over the past few years.

In a state riven by violence for the past two decades, an entire generation has missed out on a social side to life and the youth have been the hardest hit victims of the violence.  Given that scenario, it is amazing that there are 1,200 registered boys and girls playing rugby across Kashmir.

Mohammad Iqbal, Chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir Rugby Association said, “We are very grateful indeed that the Leeds Rugby Foundation have sent us the jerseys.  I am sure our boys and girls will wear them with pride as the Leeds rugby brand is world renowned.”

Leeds Rugby Foundations’ Connecting Communities Manager, Ikram Butt, commented, “I first met members of the Kashmir Rugby Association back in 2005 and have been in contact with them ever since. I am delighted to see how they have expanded the game of rugby under extreme circumstances.”

Leeds Rugby Foundation is committed to continue developing and strengthening its relationship with rugby in India.  Having already hosted Bollywood star Rahul Bose, former Indian rugby union captain Chaitanya Singh and the Commonwealth Indian rugby union squad at Headingley Carnegie stadium, more recently the Foundation has established a working partnership with Bombay Gymkhana, one of the premier clubs in the country with over 135 years of rugby tradition behind it. 
Leeds Rugby Foundations’ Manager, Lucy Young saw off the shirt consignment, “Christmas is special no matter where you are or where you are from.  The difference that these shirts will make in South Asia illustrates that the spirit of Christmas does not lie in the customs; rather in the happiness that it spreads.”

“As an organisation we aim to harness the power of sport to make a positive impact on individuals’ lives and we are delighted to help in raising aspirations of the young people of Kashmir.”