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9 June 2016

IWRF-Agitos WC Rugby Asian Workshop Underway

Katie Bourke is an IWRF Classifier who is in Bali to assist with this developmental workshop with a team of others. She has written the blog entry below about the events going on.


Welcome to Bali, tropical island paradise and host of the first IWRF-Agitos Foundation Asain development workshop. Wish you were here!


After so much planning it is great to be here and see this all happen. We’re not just here to sit on the beach and drinks cocktails. We’re here to teach, support, network and do everything we can to see the sport of wheelchair rugby grow throughout the Asian region.


It has been 2 years since Indonesia and Malaysia made their first wheelchair rugby appearance at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea. This was the event that helped kick-start a movement to develop the sport throughout Southeast Asia. Since then Indonesia has hosted their first event, the inaugural Bali 4’s in 2015, and Singapore hosted an exhibition event with New Zealand in 2015. And now here we are holding a regional development workshop in beautiful Bali.


Delegates have come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Timor-Leste. All to learn about everything rugby, from establishing teams, supporting volunteers and finding players. The plan is this workshop this will lay a foundation for us to continue to work on, and see rugby programs running in more in their counties through the region.


As the first zone to run a development workshop of this type, there has been a huge learning curve, both for the attendees and the trainers.


Those who have worked within the Asian region may appreciate that things work on local schedules. Thanks to a lot of work from Rodney Holt of the Bali Sports foundation, and Cherie Harris, IWRF development chair, things were underway on Friday after only a few scheduling changes. The training team have worked well to ‘go with the flow’, and adapted at a rapid pace to the needs of the audience.


The next few days will be a mix of classroom and on court teaching. Led by the super organised Cherie Harris, the training team consists of Head referee for the Asia/Oceania zone Jon Corson, who needed no microphone in the classroom lectures, NZ Wheelblacks captain, Gavin Rolton and Wheelblacks veteran Sholto Taylor, both great blokes for giving their time and experience to help bring the workshop to life. 


Sholto cut his honeymoon short to be here, something I’m sure he’ll pay for later. Both the players are also joined by their partners, Mel an accomplished table official, and Sasha a nurse, budding ‘crazy cat lady’ and new bride who agreed to end her honeymoon and help teach rugby.


Finally I get to be the token ‘Aussie in Bali’ on this team of facilitators. With around 70+ years of experience between us, it’s an amazing team and we should be in for a great few days. Just don’t drink the tap water and we’ll all be fine.