The project Asia 1 Million has been running since May 2016 when Asia Rugby Council agreed on launching the project with the aim of engaging one million new player participants in Asia by 2020 as part of the Impact Beyond 2019 programme for Rugby World Cup 2019.
Project Asia 1 million has made a big impact on Rugby In Pakistan as they were one of the first unions to embrace and implement the Get Into Rugby programme and then identified as one of four unions where the project Asia 1 million would be implemented.
The impact of the project Asia 1 Million on rugby in Pakistan has been quite remarkable with rugby spreading across all regions in Pakistan, which is reflected in an ever-growing domestic competition for U16s, U18s and senior for men and women.
Pakistan Rugby Union Chairman and Vice President of Asia Rugby Fawzi Khawaja discussed Asia 1 Million in Pakistan: “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year with the annual report on GIR and the Pakistan Rugby Union clinching a spot among the top 10.
“The report speaks volume of the tremendous amount of hard work put in by Pakistan Head Coach and World Rugby Qualified Rugby Educator Shakeel and his team of dedicated GIR coordinators who have worked tirelessly spreading rugby among the length and breadth of the country.
The most encouraging part of GIR is our exceptional gender mix which is among the best giving an astonishing insight to the attention/balance given to women.”
Some of the highlights of the first quarter include training 170 PT teachers just in this first quarter of 2018, with 52% participants being female.
On a recent visit to Pakistan by Asia 1 Million coordinator Ben van Rooyen, he was able to see first hand how the project is helping spread rugby in remote areas of Pakistan and especially helping women gain an opportunity to take up a team sport.
Pakistan Rugby has now been able to build a strong base for rugby and it’s working on a retention strategy and a defined pathway for long-term player development via youth teams for men and women.
A1M has also helped schools collages, with universities giving full scholarships based on rugby. With government departments such as the Army and WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) having dedicated rugby teams, this has led to a robust domestic rugby competition.
With the support of World Rugby and Asia Rugby the future of rugby seems bright and secure in Pakistan