Push to boost rugby awareness in local circles

Nagulendran (seventh from right) and Attila (third from right) posing for photos with employees of Pos Malaysia, one of the tournament’s platinum sponsors. — Photos: IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Club advocates for more people to get involved with the game in communities, schools

A KUALA Lumpur-based sports club is hoping to create greater awareness of rugby in Malaysia and the values it teaches the community at large, through the network of local rugby clubs.

“Rugby does not get the attention it deserves in Malaysia, but it has very good grassroots support,” said KL Tigers Rugby Football Club president Attila Emam.

“What we need to do is make people more aware of rugby as well as make it more accessible and inclusive,” he said.

“In addition to awareness, we also want to develop rugby skills and facilities to get more people to play the sport in communities and schools,” he emphasised.

Even though it is a high contact sport, Attila said rugby had a framework to ensure safety was a priority and that nobody was made to do anything without first being trained and taught.

He also brought up a famous quote attributed to former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill: “Rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen.”

Attila said KL Tigers Rugby Football Club would like to partner and work with other rugby communities in Malaysia to grow the sport among locals.

Young athletes in action during KL Tigers International Rugby 10s.Young athletes in action during KL Tigers International Rugby 10s.

“Rugby is a team sport and likewise we should work as a team to grow the sport in Malaysia,” he said on the sidelines of KL Tigers International Rugby 10s, an annual tournament hosted by the club.

“The idea for this tournament is to promote rugby locally and in the country,” said Attila.

“We have 157 teams from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong competing.

“It’s also an inclusive sport as the players include boys and girls, aged six to 18,” he added.

Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Dr K. Nagulendran opened the two-day tournament at Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort, Kuala Lumpur, earlier this month.

In his speech, Nagulendran said sports was a powerful tool to promote unity and friendship.

“It is a big industry that we are trying to foster in Malaysia, and corporations are welcomed to explore the industry to offer their support,” he said.

He added that the ministry offered grants for corporations to make sports as inclusive as possible.

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