Sarapich was born in Cambodia to French mother and Cambodian father. For around 20 years, he was dedicated to NGOs which aim to improve the children life.
In 2013, he became the President of Kampuchea Balopp. For him, it is important that children get access to sport.
Nicolas was born in France and began playing rugby at 11 years old. For the past 29 years he hasn’t stopped, except for the occasional injury. He has been in Asia, living and working across the region, since his early 20s but now calls Cambodia home. The impetus behind Kampuchea Balopp, Nicolas is the driving force behind the organization’s creation.
Why do you like rugby? Rugby is 80 minutes of action, not many breaks, you don’t have time to get bored on a rugby field! You can be small or big, you won’t succeed alone in scoring a try, you have to play with your team mates otherwise you wont get results. It is a true collective sport and if you don’t pass the ball, you will get tackled anyway. It is a great way of releasing energy positively, you learn how to channel it and to use it collectively to achieve the same goal. No one is left behind! You can run, get on the ground, tackle, jump for the ball, kick! You get the physical part and proper intellectual stimulation to “read the game”. There is NO segregation through rugby, all races, all genders; everyone gets to enjoy playing and watching!
What do you like about rugby? Rugby is before all a philosophy of life, you start playing at 8-9 years of age until your 40’s, you keep learning the lesson of life through that sport! It teaches numerous values and help you to develop your skills, respect of your opponents (fair play), your teammates, the referee, etc. You use these notions and tools in everyday life, control your energy, anger, frustrations, talk with respect to your family members or every persons from your social/work environment. People who share the passion for rugby always respect a code of conduct, you will never see the type of violence among supporters as you can see so often in the Football world.
Why is it important to develop rugby with the kids? My parents directed me towards rugby when I was 11 years old because I was bullied outside school by older kids who were trying to steal money or toys from me. Two years later, I was not afraid anymore to walk back home and to push the delinquents away. Learning self confidence and controlling fears were probably the two important notions I learn from rugby, aside of course of loving playing the ball with my friends and other teams mates. Underprivileged children in Cambodia in particular are not given many opportunities to express/develop their energy, enthusiasm or skills through any sports. Rugby brings them a balanced amount of physical exercise/fun, a platform to develop social skills and to learn values. Rugby gives them also opportunities to build bridges between different age and social groups. It is a fantastic “ascenseur social” (Social lift).
Justin was born in the United Kingdom. He divides his time between Cambodia and Thailand, which he has been conducting business in for a number of years. Justin’s extensive network of contacts in Asia, Australia and Europe is part of what he’s bringing to bear for Kampuchea Balopp, along with his accounting skills and love of rugby.
Why do you like rugby? Having started playing at the age of 5 years old up until 18 and now having passed that passion to my son who is 16 years old and has also played since a young age, it is something of a family passion. It is a sport that combines a great deal of skill with a controlled aggression which balanced well makes the game very enjoyable to watch, this is evidenced by the family atmosphere at games.
What do you like about rugby? That such a physical and competitive sport can be employed to educate young people how to control their natural instincts such as anger by channelling this into something creative. In much the same way that martial arts promotes spirituality and mental self-discipline.
Why is it important to develop rugby with the kids? The game itself is an incredible tool for education, through regular training, players are subliminally learning key life skills. The game relies on teamwork, intuition, leadership and the ability to adapt and push boundaries under conditions of stress both physical and mental. Ultimately these same parameters apply off the pitch in relationships, the boardroom and socially. When you peel away the layers, the advantage of this type of directed tutoring provides an early advantage to those that are fortunate to participate.
Australian native Anna-Maria Nugent is a long-term resident of Phnom Penh with a keen interest in sport, and rugby in particular. She has managed to combine this sporting passion and desire to capacity build in her adopted country through volunteering at Kampuchea Balopp. She works with the fundraising team as well as teaching English to the Cambodian coaches.
Why did you decide to come to Cambodia? I had originally been living in Spain but found that Australia and my family were too far away. South East Asia was therefore chosen due to its geographical position and I have always been fascinated by the mixture of Asian culture and the old French colonies. I almost ended up in Vietnam, but luckily Cambodia was the final destination.
Why is rugby an important sport to teach? I have always had an interest in rugby, mainly through my father and brothers, and also because I play touch rugby. Rugby has such intricacy and is a game that is able to develop excellent camaraderie and teamwork, plus it is a thing of beauty when you see a team working in unison. It is a great mix of skill, speed, agility, power and passion. You have to use your head to play but having a lot of heart is fundamental also!
What is the most rewarding thing about your job? Fundraising is not easy and you need to have a lot of dedication and perseverance. However, when you go out to a training session and you see the children training for an hour where they do not stop giving 100% plus they smile and laugh a lot, you know that it is all worth it. On top of that, you get to see our Cambodian trainers being role models to these kids, and you see their training skills and English language ability really improve, and you know that you are contributing something worthwhile.
Born in France, Clement is native of the same city as Jean-Baptiste and he has begun the rugby towards the age of 4 years in the Rugby Club of Soyaux. He played in several championships, in France, in Australia or still in New Zealand.
Come to join his childhood friend, Clément hopes to bring his experience for Kampuchea Balopp in the organization of event and the fundraising.
Why do you like rugby?
Some people will say that I had no choice… My father played rugby, thus I spent my Sundays around the field to see playing the adults, by telling me that one day it would be my turn. The rugby is a part of my DNA, he taught me to respect the others, to be tolerant, allowed me to have a second family around me.
The rugby is more than a passion, without it, I would be not the man I am now.
What do you like in Rugby?
The conviviality, the spirit of self-abnegation, the team spirit, the sense of duty and the sharing. For me the rugby it is the school of the life. But if I have to speak about the sport itself, I shall tell to get ready before a match, the smell of changing rooms, the looks which cross, the tension, the felling then the whistle of the referee when comes the time of the match… The match is only a part of rugby… It as well on 3rd half-time, to share a glass with the opponent, the friends… Here is all that I like
Why is it so important to develop rugby to the children?
The children has a natural need to release, to move, to play, to have friends… The sport and in particular the rugby allows every child to succeed in blooming, to have a ‘good tireness” and in Cambodia to go out of social poverty. Hanging the space of training, they become as all other children of the world who go in for sport.
In a country where relationships men -woman are often violent, teach rugby and it rules from the youngest age can also allow each of them to have more respect for the others and will grow up with these ideas
I am proud to be part of this social project.