In 2019 World Rugby launched the global Try and Stop Us campaign using the inspirational stories of 15 ‘Unstoppable’ women from around the world. Now, regional associations and member unions have been empowered to search for their own ‘Unstoppables’, with incredible results.
Asia Rugby received applications from 32 countries, including Philippines, Lao, Nepal, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, India, Thailand, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Iran and Lebanon. In total, 84 applications came in and that list will be narrowed down to 32 before a 'final 15' is selected.
India's first Unstoppable was Sweta Shahi, and interest in joining her has been phenomenal. In May, following a live chat on social between the country's women’s captain Vahbiz Bharucha and kiwi Unstoppable Stacey Fluhler, the union received 60 applications from women wanting to follow in Shahi's footsteps. The Philippine Rugby Football Union is set to reveal its first Unstoppable XV and elsewhere similar things are happening.
"Rugby has made my life. Rugby is my life." says #Rugby Queen, Sumitra Nayak. Watch the video that portrays her story of struggle as a girl and a Rugby player and her message of girl child empowerment.@asiarugby pic.twitter.com/NFgb6zpdAU— Achyuta Samanta (@achyuta_samanta) September 22, 2020
Rugby Africa received 64 applications from 19 countries and has already selected its 12Unstoppables.
The 12 women represent all corners of the vast continent with four from Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe), three from eastern Africa (Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda), three from the west (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal) and two from the north (Tunisia and Egypt).
Coming soon - the Unstoppables of Rugby Africa! Thank you to all the inspiring African Women in Rugby who applied for the #TryAndStopUs campaign. You are truly #Unstoppable#WomenInRugby #AfricanWomenInRugby pic.twitter.com/oIW8yI9k56— Rugby Afrique (@RugbyAfrique) September 23, 2020
Oceania Rugby ran 'Women in Rugby month' throughout September with activities happening across eight countries.
These events have included girls-only Get into Rugby festivals, women’s competitions and women’s-only Training & Education sessions, plus online forums, professional development sessions and dedicated communications profiles and posts.
🏉 Oceania Rugby’s Unstoppable Women in Rugby month has been deemed successful, proving to be an exceptional event for Oceania Rugby, celebrating women’s involvement in the game.— Oceania Rugby (@oceaniarugby) September 30, 2020
📝 Read More here: https://t.co/WQGfe6JzE5#WomenInRugby #OceaniaUnstoppable #EqualPlayingField pic.twitter.com/pyItWApV8w
"It is an incredibly challenging environment for all rugby players around the world," said Katie Sadleir, World Rugby's General Manager for Women's Rugby. "But having something like this campaign really connects people in terms of the values of rugby, the inspirational ambassadors that we're creating through this campaign, which just spur more young girls and boys to be interested in getting involved."