Connect with us

Myanmar

Burmese kids dodging cows and cow dung to play rugby

Published

 on 

It’s a case of dung and dragons.

Sidestepping cowpats and garbage, Myanmar’s only home-grown junior rugby side train on the outskirts of Yangon, preparing to take on children from the city’s well-heeled international schools.

When the Little Dragons aren’t running barefoot on the litter-strewn dirt, the makeshift field on the outskirts of Yangon is sometimes used for cockfighting or as a fairground. But every Sunday, boys and girls aged five to 18 from Yangon’s North Dagon township can be seen playing touch rugby, an incongruous sight in a country where the sport is barely known.

In the monsoon the training ground is shin-deep in mud, but during the hot season the surface is baked into an unyielding, crusty mosaic.

Yet many of the Little Dragons play in bare feet.

Burmese kids dodging cows and cow dung to play rugby | News by Thaiger

Youth worker-turned-coach, 24 year old Aung Kyaw Lin, helped set up the team four years ago to run alongside English and maths lessons, and workshops on fire safety and health.

“Children here used to spend their free time in gaming shops. When they started playing rugby, they stopped arguing and worked together.”

Although the organisers ran out of funding to keep their education centre going, the rugby continued.

Few women play sport in conservative Myanmar yet half of the 40 or so Little Dragons are girls. Nann Shar Larr He’s older sister used to scold her for wanting to play with the boys, but now most of her family come to watch the training sessions.

“There’s no difference between girls and boys when we play rugby.”

As the only homegrown junior team in the country, the Little Dragons look to Yangon’s international schools for matches. In May, they took part in Myanmar’s first junior tournament – partly played on a full-sized, artificial grass pitch at one of the schools.

Out of 10 teams in each age group, Little Dragons sides finished second and third in the Under-14s, and second in the Under-11s.

“These kids ran rings round them,” says coach Bradley Edwards.

One baffled team even tried removing their trainers to see if that was the key to the Little Dragons’ agility – an experiment that lasted only a couple of minutes on the hot, rough surface.

“We felt like crying when they scored, but we just tried even harder,” says 12 year old Dragon Kyaw Kyaw Lin.

Burmese kids dodging cows and cow dung to play rugby | News by Thaiger

The schools are helping out the team, donating second-hand trainers and sharing transport. But the Dragons are looking for sustained funding to support them and resurrect the now-closed education centre.

An interested international sponsor backed away last year, concerned about Myanmar’s “political climate” – a reference to the global outcry triggered by the mass expulsion of Rohingya Muslims in 2017.

Edwards sees this as counter-productive, arguing that sport can be a unifying force.

“There are so many things separating communities now in Myanmar and in rugby one of the key values is respect.”

The next step is to introduce the players to rugby sevens but fellow coach Josh Peck says they are eager for more.

“These kids are fired-up and ready. They want to play full contact.”

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Burmese kids dodging cows and cow dung to play rugby | News by Thaiger

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand5 mins ago

Three children survive daycare centre massacre in northeast Thailand

Law49 mins ago

Pakistan’s transgenders dragged back into Dark Ages

Thailand1 hour ago

Thais unhappy with Prawit’s response to daycare centre massacre

Sponsored1 day ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand lowers flags to half-mast to mourn daycare centre massacre victims

Philippines2 hours ago

‘Strange and unusual’ punishment for Filipino lottery winners

Guides2 hours ago

5 posh places for a relaxing afternoon tea in Bangkok

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Weather2 hours ago

Floods in NE Thailand claimed the lives of 3 people

Crime2 hours ago

Colleagues reveal daycare killer prone to mood swings

Hot News3 hours ago

US sanctions Myanmar junta-linked businessman over buying Russian-made arms

Thailand3 hours ago

King, Queen and PM Prayut to visit mass shooting victims in northeast Thailand

Guides3 hours ago

What are the common international school curriculums in Thailand? What should you choose?

Hot News3 hours ago

US forces take down three senior ISIS figures in Syria

Bangkok3 hours ago

LIV golfers trundle pointlessly into Bangkok’s ‘billionaire’s paradise’

Hot News3 hours ago

Suitcase in Japan held different kind of explosives as bomb squad finds sex toys

Crime3 hours ago

The world mourns mass shooting at northeast Thailand daycare centre

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending