Article by: Deedee Aeschliman
The Asian Games, also known as the Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years amongst athletes who hail from all areas of Asia. The Games were first regulated by the Asian Games Federation, starting from its first game in New Delhi in 1949. But since 1982, they were replaced by the Olympic Council of Asia, that even today is responsible for organizing the event. The Asiad is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and is the world’s second largest multi-sporting event after the Olympic Games.
Following the end of World War II, many countries in Asia had effectively claimed their independence from various colonial powers and invaders. Subsequently, Asian leaders were inspired to create a league and develop a new competition, where Asian dominance and rivalry would not be demonstrated through violence. Thus, the Games rendered success in its ability to strengthen mutual understanding between Asian countries.
This year’s Asian Games, hosted by Incheon, South Korea is close to coming to an end.
With this in mind, it is time we look back at the Philippine athletes who stood out during the competition, most notably the Philippine national rugby union team. Nicknamed the Volcanoes, the team has been gaining much popularity and attention due to its recently successful athletic performances. Currently, the team aspires to make its debut at the Rugby World Cup, and is working hard to showcase its skills at various other leagues. In the Asian Games this year, the Volcanoes were the only team sports representing the Philippines. Regardless, after winning over China, they managed to earn an honorable fifth place.
Currently, the team is ranked first amongst Southeast Asia, and its noted triumph is beginning to endorse popularity to a game that is still relatively new in the country. Rugby was first brought and introduced to the Philippines by Western expatriates hailing from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Since then, the game has spread to the local population. Although rugby is still a minor sport in the Philippines, overshadowed by sports like basketball, soccer/football, and boxing, recently its popularity amongst the public has especially grown. This is in great part due to the increasing exposure that Filipinos got from rugby and the various media coverage. The recent victories and successes achieved by the Filipino rugby union is captured and placed in public sight.