KATHMANDU: As many as 2,500 people took part in a rugby festival that was organised as a part of Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour, on December 08 in Tundikhel, Kathmandu.
Vice President Nanda Kishor Pun inaugurated the programme in which adults and children from around the city took part in the event. Many people even admitted to holding a rugby ball for the very first time as Rugby has yet to grow as a grassroots game here in Nepal.
With the programme, World Rugby’s Project Asia 1 Million target, a key part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Impact Beyond legacy programme, edged a little closer, to attract one million new rugby participants by 2020, as it has already involved over 900,000 people across Asia.
The Project Asia 1 Million aims to use World Rugby tournaments as a catalyst for the growth of the game.
The event also treated attendees to music as well as the chance to see the Webb Ellis Cup which has for the first time visited Nepal. It reached its highest point to date – 5,500m up in the Himalayas at Kala Patthar, where it was joined by England’s former World Rugby International Sevens Player of the Year, Ollie Phillips
“It is fantastic to see the impact the famous Webb Ellis Cup is having in inspiring new players to participate in rugby around the world as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. It is an exciting time for rugby in Asia as participation and fan growth accelerates rapidly throughout the continent and with the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia just around the corner. Japan 2019 is set to be a game-changing moment for rugby across Asia,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
The visit to Kathmandu also saw the Webb Ellis Cup hosted by the Japanese Ambassador to Nepal, Mr Masamichi Saigo. The special reception in Kathmandu brought together the hosts of Rugby World Cup 2019 and the hosts of Rugby World Cup 2015, represented by the British Ambassador to Nepal, Richard Morris.
The Trophy also visited some of the spectacular temples around Kathmandu, including Swayambhunath Temple, Patan Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath temple.
Nepal was country number 10 on the 20-nation journey and the final stop for 2018.