Anastassiya Khamova has played at three Women’s Rugby World Cups and is now on her way to the Hong Kong Sevens with the Kazakhstan side aiming to qualify for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
As the team manager for the Kazakhstan side, Khamova has been there and done it in rugby and has even refereed at the Hong Kong Sevens.
“The girls are ready to go. They are very excited,” said Khamova.
“I love Hong Kong and all the girls love it too. We have been there lots of times.
“We have had two training camps, the second in Turkey to help us acclimatise to similar conditions to Hong Kong. I have spoken to the coach and he is very positive.”
The pool draw for the women’s qualifier through up an interesting grouping with all three Asian sides drawn in Pool B alongside Brazil, who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“China and Hong Kong are very common to us. We know them well. But half a year can change everything.
“Hong Kong have a new coach, so do we. But it will be great. That first day will not be easy, China are good, and Hong Kong are very brave. But our girls will be ready.”
With a place on the women’s series up for grabs, there is no better place to host the tournament than in Hong Kong.
“For us it is a dream to go to the Women’s Rugby World Cup. So too to qualify for the series. It is our aim.
“If we win the tournament then the NOC will give us more funding. It is true. Not only are the team and federation excited, but the NOC are also looking too. It is extra motivation for us.
“It will also be a stepping stone for the Asian Games. For the team it is necessary not just to play other teams in Asia. We have very strong women’s teams in Kazakh, and we are prepared to take part in other tournaments ahead of the Asian Games.
“We are always looking out for new stars. Now we are focussed on different sports, like handball, track and field, basketball, because it is much easier to invite the girls who are already in sport.”