RUGBY rode on golf’s popularity once again to fill its coffers.
The Kedah Rugby Association (KRA) organised a New Year Rugby-Golf Carnival at the Darulaman Golf & Country Club in Bandar Darulaman, Jitra, recently.
The golf tournament was followed by a sumptuous dinner for donors, well wishers and participants at the Royal Kedah Club banquet hall in Pumpong.
The KRA's golf competition was originally planned to be held over three days at the nine-hole Royal Kedah Club Course.
But the damage caused to the fairways by the recent floods in the state forced the organisers to shift the competition to the 18-hole Darulaman Golf & Country Club course in Jitra.
The competition's main attractions were two hole-in-one prizes.
A Hyundai 1.5 Accent worth RM60,000 was offered by Heng Guan Trading Sdn Bhd for any golfer able to score a hole-in-one at the 7th or 16th holes while Comfort Tours Sdn Bhd had put up a RM8,000 package tour for two to Koming in China for a hole-in-one at the 13th hole.
Unfortunately, none of the 80-odd golfers managed the feat and were unable to win either prize.
More than 300 guests, including the Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah, the Raja Muda and his consort the Raja Puan Muda, the Sultan’s daughter Datuk Seri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz and newly appointed Executive Councillor for Sports Othman Aziz, who was representing the Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mahdzir Khalid, were present at the dinner.
Tavados, a five-member Indo-nesian band, entertained the guests throughout the dinner.
Carisbrook marketing manager Muhammad Zyuraidi Abdul Majid presented Kedah rugby squad's new playing apparel to the Sultan of Kedah during the prize-giving ceremony.
Carisbrook of New Zealand will sponsor the Kedah rugby squad to the tune of RM20,000 per season for two years.
At the same ceremony, the President’s Cup, which Kedah won last year, was also presented to the Sultan who had consented to be KRA's patron.
During his welcoming speech, KRA president Datuk Amiruddin Embi acknowledged the association’s dependency on the golf fraternity to fill its coffers.
Amiruddin said, “On behalf of the rugby association, I express my gratitude to the Kedah Golf Association and the Royal Kedah Club golfers in particular who have given tremendous support to rugby in the state.
“Their support has enabled us to fill our coffers and this in turn has helped us to launch our three-year development programme.”
The president also commented that KRA would step up its efforts in co-operating with the Police and Education Department to get students with disciplinary problems involved in rugby.
In 2005, Kedah clinched the President’s Cup and also took the Fair Play Team Award in the 2005 HSBC-Cobra International Rugby 10s.
The state also qualified for the semi-finals of the Agong Cup and bowed out to the Sarawak Eagles in the final of the inaugural Alor Star City Royal International seven-a-side tournament.
“We have organised several rugby clinics and also courses for coaches and referees.
“To expand our development programme further, we have invited the Penguins from England, who will be in Malaysia to conduct Cobra’s development project in Kedah in mid-February.
“We have scheduled the second Kedah International Royal 7s tournament for the Kedah Sultan’s challenge trophy to be held back-to-back with the Cobra International 10s in September,” added Amiruddin.
Meanwhile, Mohd Zahid Jaafar (h’cap 1) won the golf gross title on a count back after being tied with Hassan Rejab (3) on two over par 74.
In third place was Sazali Zakaria (7), who shot an 81.
Khalid Hashim (13) beat five other players on a count-back to win the nett title.
Sunny Hoe (13) was second and Datuk Wira Mohd Zain Osman (14) was third.
The ladies' nett champion was Tuanku Sultanah Haminah Hamidun while Datuk Seri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz won the gross title.