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 Sports

Thrilling rugby action on the cards

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ALL SYSTEMS GO … Abdul Ghani (back row, 8th left), holding the tournament's sponsorship mock cheque together with the organising committee members, officials and players.

14th November, 2017

By UMESH RAJAN

KOTA KINABALU: The second edition of the Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin Rugby 10s Cup is expected to create more thrilling grassroots rugby action when it kicks off from November 24-26 at the Papar town field.

The annual tournament held in conjunction with the district’s Rugby Carnival 2017 is organised by Papar Rugby Association with the help of Papar P.175 PPP, Sabah Rugby Union (SRU) and University Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

Papar Rugby Association President, Datuk Abdul Ghani Abd Rashid announced that the tournament was organised to show appreciation to Papar MP, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin for her support towards the development of rugby in the district.

“The tournament features two categories which are the Men’s Open and Women’s Open where at the moment, there are 16 men’s teams and six women’s teams have confirmed their participation.

“For this year, we have limited the number of entries with 16 teams for men’s and eight teams for the women’s category. Therefore currently only two slots are available for the women’s category, while the men’s is full.

“All the teams participating are from various districts in Sabah where we received inquiries from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia but there is no feedback at the moment,” he said during a press conference at Beringgis Beach Resort in Papar, yesterday.

Abdul Ghani added that the main objective of the tournament is to prepare a platform for local young rugby players in the district to showcase their talent in the sport while at the same time to create an active and healthy community in Papar.

Attractive cash prizes await the winners where the champions of the men’s category will collect RM750 cash plus a Challenge Trophy, while the second-placed finisher will receive RM500 cash plus trophy.

The champions of the women’s category will win RM500 cash plus trophy while the first runners-up will receive RM300 cash plus trophy.

Other than the rugby tournament, there are several other activities organised for members of the public to participate in such as the tug of war and scram competitions as well as cultural performances to entertain the visitors.

“This year we have decided to add in several mini competitions and cultural performances from various races during the rugby carnival while the main highlight is the Papar Rugby Personality Recognition,” he said.

When asked by reporters about the association’s plans to develop rugby in the district, Abdul Ghani stated that they have started to expose the sport to primary school students.

“We have been going to primary schools to encourage students under the age of 12 years to take up rugby which is our latest concept to start nurturing players from a young age.

“Therefore, we hope to introduce Touch & Tag Rugby to the school kids before exposing them to the full contact rugby when they have mastered the basics,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Ghani hopes that the district’s rugby community will get their wish of obtaining a proper rugby field from the incoming Papar Sports Complex project.

“The district appallingly needs a proper rugby field to fully utilise the sport’s development because at the moment, Papar has only one field for everyone to use and to cater for all types of sports.

“This could be a problem in organising events in the future due to availability if no proper rugby field was allocated to the district, instantly dampening our hopes to fully develop rugby here,” he said.

He hopes that concerned parties will acknowledge the lack of sporting facilities in Papar which has been one of the restrictions disrupting its sports development progress.

Also present at the press conference were UMS Curriculum and Student Development Centre Deputy Director, Dr Hasnol Nordin; Hadi Haji Kassim representing Papar MP and SRU Tournament Director, Safri Jeffry.

   
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