Six Nations mascot winner
The ultimate dream..
A sports mad girl from Leamington Spa has been picked to run out in front of thousands of rugby fans at the Ricoh Arena.
Vishaka Gupta participates in a variety of sports and activities thanks to support of her family and is also a Wasps fan.
The 10-year-old Milverton Primary School pupil will now run out with the England Women rugby team ahead of their Six Nations clash against Ireland Women at the Ricoh Arena on March 16 (kick-off 5.30pm).
The women’s match precedes England Under 20s’ Six Nations clash with Ireland Under 20s, which takes place at the same venue straight afterwards (kick-off 8pm).
Vishaka’s mother, Preeti Gupta, said: “In her life Vishaka has broken many barriers and shown that girls are able to break many hurdles that may confront them.
“Indian culture is very male dominated but we have always taught her she can do whatever she puts her mind to and she has really taken it on board, I think she has a bright future ahead of her whatever she decides to do.
“She joined the Scout movement instead of the socially accepted Girl Guides, she is training in Kung Fu and plays cricket with the boys at her Cricket club as there is no girls’ team of her age.
“I have always explained to her that being a girl never stops her from doing anything.
“It will be an honour for her to be a mascot for the women’s rugby match, it will once again demonstrate to her that girls can do anything.”
Vishaka’s family has watched a couple of Wasps games and Vishaka has always supported them.
It also won’t be her first time as a mascot after getting to walk out with the India Women’s Cricket team captain for their ICC Women’s World Cup match against South Africa last year.
Mascots will get to watch both teams warm-up, giving Vishaka an opportunity to learn a few new skills from some of the most talented women in the game.
They will then join up with a player, selected randomly, to walk out onto the pitch.
England are Grand Slam champions across both the women and Under-20 formats and begin their Six Nations defence this month.
Both teams will be striving to sign off with a trophy presentation at the Ricoh Arena.
Nick Eastwood, Chief Executive at the Ricoh Arena, said: “Vishaka is a truly inspirational young lady, and when we heard about her story and her enthusiasm for sport, we were keen to invite her along to rub shoulders with the country’s best female rugby players.
“For mascots such as Vishaka, this will be a unique opportunity to be a special part of the day and make memories that will last with her and her family forever.
“We can’t wait for the double header on March 16, and we’re hoping both games will be title-deciders.”
Tickets for the Six Nations double-header between England and Ireland at the Ricoh Arena are just £10 for adults for both games, and can be purchased from www.eticketing.co.uk/ricoharena