Bangkok 7s, here we are !!

Kampuchea Balopp (KB) and Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) are proud to announce that for the first time ever, a women’s club team from Cambodia will participate in the upcoming Bangkok International Rugby Sevens tournament on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of November in Bangkok, Thailand.

The tournament has been held annually since 1995 and is a major Sevens tournament in the region. This year 12 womens teams and 28 mens teams will participate and the event will be held at the beautiful Bangkok Patana School. The Kampuchea Balopp Garudas are in Pool C with Australia Navy, Singapore HPD and Bangkok Uni. The opening game for the Cambodian girls is at 12.10pm against Singapore HPD.

The Cambodian team is comprised of twelve girls. Two girls are between sixteen and eighteen, and the rest are between eighteen and twenty. Most of the girls started playing rugby over 5 years ago through the PSE program, but there are a few who only began playing less than one year ago. For the girls, it is the first time to travel overseas, and also obviously their first tournament overseas.

Rugby Sevens is particularly suited to the Cambodian style of rugby as it emphasises speed and agility. The Cambodian girls have embraced this version of rugby and it has quickly grown in popularity. Up until one year ago the girls only got to play games again the Lycée René-Descartes’s girls team, but recently ISPP created a girls Sevens team and therefore the local Kampuchea Balopp-PSE team got to practice against the two other teams. Obviously this international tournament with teams from around the world will be a major step for the girls.

RETH Ra, the Senior Educator at Kampuchea Balopp and Head Coach of the women’s team says that he is very proud to give this opportunity to the girls as it is a fantastic experience to participate in a such a quality tournament. He knows that even if the games are tough, the team has worked and trained very hard for one year to prepare for this, and so the most important thing is not the result but the experience that the girls will gain from their participation. The women’s captain, KEO Soknov, has been playing for ten years and this is the first time that she is able to travel overseas for an important tournament.

Kampuchea Balopp and PSE would like to thank Tournament Director David Adamson for supporting the Cambodian team, covering some of their costs, and being a proud supporter of rugby in Cambodia. Also, other supporters have been the students from ISPP who have donated items such as boots to assist the girls in making this trip possible.

We hope that this tournament will be an important step in contributing to the foundation of a strong Cambodian women’s rugby team. With the four hundred girls that currently participate in the Kampuchea Balopp sports program, there are certainly the numbers to build women’s 7’s rugby in Cambodia, plus a lot of enthusiasm.

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