Laureus World Sport Academy Members have teamed up to support an innovative youth rugby programme, launched in Kuala Lumpur today, which it is hoped will ultimately improve the standard of international rugby in Malaysia.
Charitable foundation Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) and the COBRA Rugby Club were joined by former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses, Olympic decathlete Daley Thompson and French World Cup winning footballer Marcel Desailly at the launch of the 1Malaysia COBRA Youth Rugby Programme.
The programme also aims to use rugby as a means to reach out to young people in Malaysia to address social problems and to develop leadership initiatives.
COBRA has been involved in the development of rugby since 1967. With a flourishing schools programme already in place, they are now developing a complementary youth programme which will keep talented rugby players in the sport after they complete their secondary education. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation will lend its experience and expertise to the programme.
The Laureus sports legends are in Kuala Lumpur for the 2014 Laureus Sport for Good Global Summit. Staged with the support of YR1M, the Summit brings together representatives from more than 100 sports-based community programmes around the world to exchange knowledge and ideas and share expertise.
Laureus Vice-Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick said: “I’m delighted to be part of the launch of this exciting project. I am especially pleased that Laureus is going to be part of this programme. Rugby is the ultimate sport where teamwork matters and I know that Laureus and YR1M will work as a team to be able to help young people in Malaysia over the next few years.
“When we were here in Kuala Lumpur for the Laureus World Sports Awards in March, we said that was just the start of our partnership. This week we are holding the Laureus Sport for Good Summit here, thanks to the support of YR1M, and we have been able to announce our tie-up here with COBRA. This is just the start. There is much more we will be doing in the future to ensure that we leave a strong legacy in Malaysia.”
It is hoped the youth programme will produce international standard players who can initially play at Under-19 level and subsequently at senior level. The goal is to improve the skills of players and win promotion from their current Division Two status to Division One of the Asian Rugby Football Union Junior Rugby Championships.
Ung Su Ling, Chief Executive Officer, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, said: “The 1Malaysia COBRA Youth Rugby Programme is not only about rugby. It is about using rugby as a tool to reach out to those who need more guidance and more structure to provide them with the necessary mentoring that will take them out of the socially disadvantageous situations they are in and help them become more employable, responsible and productive.”