Thursday, June 24

Rugby league to further boost women’s game

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Beniamino (right) gives a pep talk to the women’s rugby players during a recent training camp at the Song Kheng Hai Rugby Field while Sylvia and men’s head coach Nacani Seniu (left) and others look on. — Photo courtesy of Sarawak Rugby Union

KUCHING: Plans to further develop the women’s rugby game in Sarawak are gaining momentum.

In recent years, many efforts have been made by the rugby fraternity to introduce more women’s tournaments in the state.

A new women’s elite rugby competition, expected to kick off this year, is part of the development plan.

The Sarawak Women’s 7s League will be a closed tournament for a start and involve all players from throughout the state.

It is hoped that the league will create a wider pool of players and even coaches in the future.

A number of senior women players have taken up coaching and been supplied with equipment from the ‘Get into Rugby’ fund that are supported by the Direct Aid Project from the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and the Sarawak Rugby Union (SRU).

The coaches have been assigned to various training centres in Miri, Bintulu, Kuching, Samarahan and Kapit with the objective of producing more under-19 players.

Training centres in all zones will pit against each other in a competition every two months to garner competitive exposure and experience for the players and their coaches. The bimonthly competition will also give a huge boost to the women’s 7s league.

The league meanwhile provides a platform for state players to test their skills and new talents to be discovered.

It will not only help the coaches and players prepare for the Sarawak Games (Suksar) to be held in Sibu this year but also for the 2022 Sukma in Johor.

Meanwhile, Miri will continue to be the Centre of Excellence for Sarawak women’s rugby.

Talks are progressing between the Sarawak Sports Corporation, SRU and Curtin University to build a world class rugby facility at the Curtin campus in Miri with the aim of producing more professional female athletes in the sport and to turn Sarawak into a powerhouse in women’s rugby. It will also open up opportunities for community to get involved in rugby.

In Miri, the Sukma women’s rugby team continued to put in hard work in training under the watchful eyes of head coach Beniamino Tamanikula Soso and Miri Division Rugby Association development officer Sylvia Alexander Lian.

Despite the cancellation of the 2020 Sukma due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team planned to push on with training to increase and sustain their fitness level, and improve their playing skills as an early preparation for the 2022 Sukma.

Training sessions are conducted in full compliance with the standard operating procedures.