SLR introduces rugby to N&E Provinces
Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) is taking meaningful action to shift gear and improve the livelihood of community life in the North & East with the introduction of Training & Education (T&E) along with Get Into Rugby (GIR) programmes.
This is in line with the vision of Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports, who with the support of the Ministry of Education, have joined hands to reconcile the war affected Northern and Eastern Provinces by bringing the communities together through the introduction of rugby. Due to the pandemic, no real rugby was played in the country for more than a year.
The introduction of GIR (powered by EFL), was held on 6, 7 and 8 April at the famous Weber stadium in Batticaloa. The spirit of rugby that was instilled brought parents, physical education teachers, students and the community together to have fun and create social change through the power of rugby.
The highlight of the programme was the eagerness and enthusiasm demonstrated by the children who participated in the GIR programme, and Coaches who successfully completed the World Rugby Level 1 Coaching and Match Officiating programmes.
Former Sri Lanka Women’s Cricketer, right arm fast bowler Norbert Johnson Ida from the Eastern Province, who represented Sri Lanka in the T-20 World Cup qualifier 2013 and toured South Africa with the T-20 squad in 2013, was one of the participants who inspired the local boys and girls by embracing rugby for the first time.
“This was a very interesting experience for me, I enjoyed the classroom sessions, and then the opportunity to practise the skills has given me the confidence to take the game forward. I’m excited to introduce rugby to Girls schools in the near future,” said Ida.
T&E and GIR has also opened a pathway for sponsorship opportunities through rugby in the Eastern Province. Organisations who are looking to take their brand to the next level and willing to invest in the rich land of Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, which has plenty of opportunities in agriculture, fishing and irrigation sectors, and not forgetting the beautiful white sand beaches of Passikuda, Kalkuda and Nilaveli, with an abundance of history in all religions and also great tourist attractions, are welcome.
SLR together with the vision of the Hon.Minister of Youth and Sports are committed to bringing the communities together and uplifting the standards of living with the symbol of hope and reconciliation.
President of SLR Rizly Illyas stated: “My experience here has given me renewed energy to take rugby to the next level by supporting this region that has shown true commitment towards the sport. There is certainly no dearth of talent. We must continue to develop these kids and create a pathway for them to be a part of the national pool in the long term.”
He further stated that Sri Lanka rugby together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, World Rugby and Asia Rugby will boost the reconciliation and the livelihood of the community to come together as one nation and one team where people unite through the sport of rugby.