Over 100 youngsters in Goa were introduced to rugby over the weekend as the HSBC ARFU (Asian Rugby Football Union) Rugby Coaching Tour concluded its 16-stop tour across 11 countries and territories in Asia.
Ismail Kadir, Development Officer for ARFU (Asian Rugby Football Union) and a former Singapore national player, spearheaded the clinics as part of the pan-Asian development programme, which has inspired over 2,500 youths across the continent this year.
“Rugby has a long history in India and with rugby sevens becoming an Olympic sport from 2016, this will further increase the popularity in this fast-growing sport not just in India but across Asia,” said Kadir, who has coached the Indonesia national team and most recently helped the India Sevens team that participated in India over the weekend.
“The HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour is great because I think it gives youngsters confidence that they can fulfil their potential, whether in rugby or anything else in life.
“I’ve been able to realise many of my ambitions by playing and coaching international rugby, yet it’s just as important that youngsters can see the type of person that rugby helps you become. Sportsmanship, courage and integrity are core values associated with rugby and you can see how these characteristics are shared by the youngsters we’ve coached in India.”
Kadir spent a week in India ahead of the India Sevens and was able to see how rugby could play a larger role in the local sporting landscape.
“We believe that rugby can play a positive role in the lives of young people in India, and the HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour is helping to get more young people from all over the world involved in the sport,” Kadir said. “In this way, it seeks to pass on the values of rugby such as fair play and respect through coaching and mentoring.”
Rugby legends Jonah Lomu and John Kirwan launched this year’s HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour in March and programmes were then held in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. All apart from Macau were hosting matches in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations.
In the second half of the year, the HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour was active around the Shanghai Sevens in China in late August and the following month’s Borneo Sevens in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, both ranking tournaments on the HSBC Asian Sevens Series. The Coaching Tour then spent two weeks in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia earlier this month.
Rugby union has been enjoying a high profile following this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, while rugby sevens – the popular seven-a-side format – has grown globally following the sport’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
This year’s HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour Coaching Tour has so far reached well over 2,500 youngsters during 16 stops in 11 countries, travelling a total distance of 40,000 kilometres.