Article by: Georgina Pekin
The popularity of touch rugby is known widely throughout ISM, and its global renown has been growing in recent years. ISM touch rugby has an outstanding reputation with seven medals in the last eight years. In recent weeks, the touch girls brought home the IASAS gold in Bangkok. But what about its popularity outside ISM? Though it’s one of the more uncommon sports, its popularity has been growing and will hopefully thrive even more in the Philippines. In late April the Philippine national team will travel to New South Wales, Australia to compete for the first time in the Touch Football World Cup. Both the women’s open and mixed open teams, known as the Philippine Pythons, will represent the Philippines.
The Touch Football World Cup held its first tournament in 1988 in Australia, and has continued every four years, being hosted in various nations including New Zealand, South Africa and the US. This year is significant as it is the first year the Philippines will participate in the World Cup. The Pythons will be entering the tournament as a rookie team in the host nation of Australia, which has an outstanding record of seven consecutive wins in the women’s division. Coach Wislang of the Philippine national team, as well as the ISM Touch team, stated, “For the WC [World Cup] team, we are looking at measuring ourselves against the other Asian teams. If we ended the tournament the 1st or second ranked team from Asia, then we will have been very successful. For the majority of the team, the honor and pride of playing at the WC for our country is a dream come true.”
April 28 to May 3, 2015 will be extremely exciting times for the ISM community with two of our own coaches leading the women’s national team in the tournament, and two of our own Bearcat athletes, Ali Preysler and Kayla Uytengsu, representing the Philippines in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Both girls are already well accredited, having just competed in their first IASAS Touch tournament as freshmen, and bringing home the gold. Ali Preysler has received great compliments for her playing on both the national and varsity teams. “Ali Preysler is a 14-year-old with scintillating speed and vision for the gaps on the field”, stated Coach Wislang when asked which players will be the ones to watch for in the tournament. Kayla Uytengsu has also been mentioned as one of the youngest and fastest players on the squad.
Stay tuned for more information about the Touch Football World Cup and be ready to support the Philippines and ISM players and coaches in such a phenomenal event!