Four Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme alumni helped to inspire their fellow participants at the recent World Rugby ACTIVATE and Training and Education Superweek in Malaysia.
Earlier this month, the Malaysia Rugby Union (MRU) hosted more than 60 educators, trainers, coaches, match officials and medics in the picturesque setting of the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) for a Superweek with a focus on female courses.
Most of the participants were drawn from across Malaysia, although the locals were joined by Ada Milby, Nahid Biyarjomandi, Karina Soerjanatamihardja and Gorata Kgathi, each of whom are past or present members of the Four Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme.
“I think they were an inspiration to the participants,” World Rugby Regional Training Consultant Asia, Gene Tong said.
“Especially those on the educator course, which is the first step on the pathway to being part of the workforce. So yeah, they were motivating and inspiring them.”
World Rugby Council member Milby used her time in Malaysia to work towards becoming a master trainer, while Unstoppable Biyarjomandi was beginning her path to become a trainer and Soerjanatamihardja was undertaking the second part of that course.
By the end of the week, three female trainers had been accredited alongside six new educators, while a total of 32 coaches, 16 strength and conditioning coaches, 10 FAIR medics and 15 match officials completed their Level 1 certificate.
“To be honest, we weren't really expecting such a big turnout because there are certain parts of Malaysia where people are still a bit wary because of the pandemic,” Tong said.
“But I think the MRU did really well. On arrival [participants were tested] and if anyone was found positive, they would be quarantined immediately or asked to leave and go and seek treatment.
“So, that gave us assurance and we had very good turnouts for the level one courses and also the ACTIVATE course. So, that was very, very pleasing.”
The week at the UPSI ended with an introduction to the World Rugby ACTIVATE programme for both new and existing educators that was attended by 64 participants.
Tong believes the success of the Superweek bodes well for the future both in Malaysia and Asia more generally as rugby on the continent continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think this really bodes well for Malaysia getting people trained up as rugby starts opening up across the country, so people can actually get out there and start coaching and training and playing and providing technical support,” he said.
“Across the region, what's more important is that there are people delivering courses and that's where the workforce comes in and trainers supporting educators and educators going out there and delivering courses.
“Pre-pandemic, we were clocking over 600 courses a year across Asia, and that's with a workforce of slightly over 300, which is cool. Everyone ran about two courses a year.
“We were hit really badly in the pandemic, we only did about 200 and 90 per cent was online.
“So, now as things are opening up, we're starting to get some traction and hopefully next year will be the first full year that we can do face to face training throughout the year and come back and bring the numbers up and start growing the game again.”