AROUND THE WORLD: TOUCH GROWTH IN AFGHANISTAN

first_imgIn recent weeks I’ve been writing stories on Touch around the world and how it’s developing. Recently I’ve written a story on Touch in Germany and also in Spain. Now I’m writing on Afghanistan. I think it’s good thing for us Aussie Touchies to know about the sport in other nations, rather than just our own. I’m hoping that it will give us more of an understanding about how lucky we are to have the resources, finances, skills and knowledge that we have in Australia. I’m also hoping that it will help build relationships between us and these developing Touch nations so that we can use our resources and knowledge in the sport and its management to help these nations develop further. Afghanistan is a country that has been in the news in recent years for political reasons, but as I have discovered, they are starting to build a Touch tradition. Chris Mastaglio has been at the forefront of Touch in Afghanistan during his two years living there and describes the Afghani’s as both competitive and hospitable, which he believes is the perfect mix for Touch and signals their huge potential in the sport. From Chris’s description, his players are certainly not short on courage…at their final training session before a game against local ex-patriots; one of the more established players had a collision that badly broke his nose. The first thing he said when he regained his composure was “Chris, I am going to be quite upset if I miss the game tomorrow.” At 1pm the next day, with black eyes and an extremely swollen nose, he was on the ground, warming up and ready to play. Where there is enthusiasm, there is potential. During the last year Chris has been working for the Ministry of Education, running a project to develop physical education. This means that he has built up a network of people involved in sports and physical education, which has given him a clear indication there was a desire to learn about new sports and games. He began by offering a `taster’ day last October, providing people with the opportunity to see if they were interested in the sport of Touch. Because of that one day and the interest and enthusiasm shown there, Touch has kicked off in Herat, in north west Afghanistan, where they have two teams playing. One team trains early in the morning and has around 13 players, while the other trains in the evening and has 17 players. The morning team was set up because of the interest in playing amongst those who are unable to leave their shops or jobs during the day and evening. Chris and his team have also been trying to start a Touch team in Kabul, which is the capital of Afghanistan and is in the north east of the country. However, constant snow for the past two months and a lack of Touch contacts in the city has made that virtually impossible. A fact Afghan life that limits the growth of Touch, is that while there is a great desire to play the sport, there is also the necessity of work. To put it simply, people cannot afford time away from work, two hours away to train means two hours away from their livelihood and making money to support their families. But despite this, they are certainly committed, training three times a week, each for around 90 minutes and sometime supplemented with a game on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately they are hampered by having no one with the knowledge and resources to be heavily involved as a coach, referee or manager. For example, Chris believes that in the military in Kabul there is one qualified referee, but with the gender issue (she is a woman) and also her military background in Afghanistan, it may be difficult to involve her at all. In terms of equipment, Afghanistan is also limited. They were given some equipment such as balls, by the Newcastle Falcons RFC, Gosforth RFC, the RFU and Grange Interiors from the North East of England, but had major problems getting them delivered. The equipment was eventually lost, stolen or given away, so they are starting the process again of trying to find people willing to support them with uniforms and equipment. One main problem facing Touch in Afghanistan is that even in the relatively well-off cities of Kabul and Herat, there is a real lack of appropriate playing space. Amongst the Afghan people they may be generally interested in learning about new games and sports but because there is very little knowledge of Touch, the focus remains on volleyball and soccer. Chris firmly believes that people should be provided with the opportunity to access information and experience different sports; so that they can then make a decision about what they want to participate in. It is this lack of opportunity and focus on volleyball and soccer that holds back the expansion of Touch. Another issue confronting Chris and his group is that people who have heard of the game (or when the see the shape of the ball) assume that it is a dangerous sport (especially as grass is hard to come by in Afghanistan). The support of the ex-patriot community for Touch in Afghanistan has been vital to their kick off. Chris organised a team of ex-patriots to play the evening team in Herat late in 2004. It is even clearer how great the support is when you realise there is only a small ex-patriot community in Herat, some of whom had never played before. And just for the sake of information, Chris is keen to share that the Afghan team won that game! While there are no Juniors involved with the sport to date, Chris is well aware of the potential the Afghan kids have within the sport. Unfortunately he is limited by a lack of people able to help with the organisation of the sport and cannot expand the sport any further on his own. He is also finding that their development is limited by being unable to play against other teams. He is planning to take the two teams from Heart to play against teams from Kabul and also ex-patriot teams later in the year. They have already been offered the national stadium in Kabul to host the tournament, which is a strong start! The ultimate aim of this is that a representative team would be picked to play in a tri-nations tournament with India and Pakistan. Once again however, Touch in Afghanistan is hampered by the lack of time to organise the tournaments and also the lack of funds to finance the endeavor. While it may seem there is a lot holding the development of Touch in Afghanistan back, I want to go back to something Chris said to me…Where there is enthusiasm, there is potential. Afghanistan seems to have grabbed hold of that. By Rachel Moyle, media@austouch.com.au Anyone interested in contacting those playing Touch in Afghanistan should contact Chris Mastaglio cmastaglio@runbox.com For another story on Touch in Afghanistan use the link below: http://www.touchrugby.com/?sec=hom⊂=&LinkCode=&NewsID=202last_img

SIXTY SECONDS IN TOUCH

first_imgWelcome to the mid July edition of Sixty Seconds in Touch… * NSWTA is conducting a level One Coaching Course on Sunday 7th August, 2005. For further details please view the NSWTA website www.nswtouch.com.au * NSW Combined High Schools have selected their side for the upcoming National 18 Years Championships in Coffs Harbour, they’ll be amongst the favourites for the title, so make sure you keep an eye on the ATA website as the event gets closer. As usual we’ll be heading up to Coffs to provide you an up to the minute description of all the action. * In other NSW news, the Vawdon Cup has kicked off in a big way, bringing NSW Touch players from far and wide, the media coverage has also started strong, with articles in all levels of news, local/regional and state/national, including a great article on Cliff Lyons in last weekends Sun Herald. Touch is continuing to make a mark on the Sports Media scene, so lets keep putting in the effort to get the news out to our local and regional media outlets. * Happy Birthday to ATA Technical Assistant Chris Tarlinton for TODAY! Have a great day mate. * The Victorian Touch Association is looking for a suitably qualified Mixed Open coach to lead the side in the Border Challenge against Touch SA, the Canberra Cup and the NSW Country Championships. Applications close Friday July 29, check out www.victouch.com.au for more details. * TouchWest and the Barbarians are still taking nominations for coaches and managers for the 2006 National Touch League, make sure you check out www.touchwest.com and have a look through their NTL page and info for all of the details. If you’re keen for a flashback there’s a great picture of their 1995 WA Womens Open side on their website as well. * Rachel Moyle’s latest article is up on the Sports News website. It tackles the issue of anti doping in sport and how it relates to Touch Footy. For all the links to the article please click here: http://www.austouch.com.au/index.cgi?det=1&intArticleID=1336&sID=46 * Victoria and SA compete in the Border Challenge each year, at Mt Gambier, (near the border of the two states.) Last weekend the Mens and Womens 18 Years sides took part in the Junior Border Challenge, with Touch SA grabbing both titles. Their Womens 18’s took the series 3-0, while the Mens 18’s grabbed the series 2-1 with a 5-4 win in the final game. Great to see in two of the up and coming Touch Footy states, their juniors are rapidly improving and promising much for the future. Watch out for the full story and scores on the ATA website later this week. * The constitution for Touch Football Australia Incorporated is up on the website, just check out our homepage for all the info. * Remember, anyone who needs some help gaining media coverage can contact Rachel at media@austouch.com.au she can help with writing stories and media releases for you local newspapers and other media outlets. * The next edition of Touch-e-Talk (ATA’s online newsletter) is being released at the start of August. We’ve just started work on it and would like to encourage everyone to keep sending in nominations for the `Volunteer of the Month’. Simply email ata_newsletter@hotmail.com or media@austouch.com.au with a few short lines on what this person does for your local association and a contact email or phone number so we can talk to them if we need more info. This is a great chance to recognise someone from your local area for all of the work they do! * If you have any news for Sixty Seconds in Touch next week send it to Rachel at media@austouch.com.au By Rachel Moylelast_img

$600M to be Spent on Potable Water Systems in Clarendon

first_img Three communities in Clarendon have been prioritised to receive potable water within the next 18 months, under a project expected to cost the Government close to $600 million.This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ian Hayles, on Tuesday, August 20, as he toured several communities, which are among the worst affected in South West Clarendon.“The three priority areas are Rhymesbury, Kemps Hill, and Vernamfield. Those are the three water supply schemes/systems we will be dealing with in the short term,” the Minister said.He told JIS News that the close to 22,000 residents in South West Clarendon, currently have difficulties with their potable water system.Mr. Hayles said the focus on the three communities is part of a greater campaign where some $8.1 billion will be spent to provide potable water for Jamaicans.According to the Minister, several strategies are being undertaken by the Ministry to deal with the lack of potable water in some communities across the island.These strategies, he said, fall under the Ministry’s ‘Pump and Tank’ programme as well as the National Water Commission’s (NWC) ‘K-factor’ programme.  The ‘Pump and Tank’ programme will shortly be implemented through Rural Water Supply Limited.Minister Hayles told JIS News that there are some simple strategies that can be implemented in the short term as well as some long term options.“Potable water is available but there is some adhoc to the NWC system also. For example at Vernamfield – plenty of water available – but it just needs a decent pump and tank to get it going again,” he stated.Other strategies to be implemented to serve the remaining communities will be undertaken under the NWC’s K-factor programme.“In terms of the K-Factor programme that will be going to the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) in the next three weeks and as soon as we get approval from the OUR, we will then proceed with the whole procurement process,” he informed.Minister Hayles noted that, where applicable, efforts will be made to ensure that locals are employed at every stage.He also implored residents to begin making preparations to ensure that when the service is supplied, they pay their monthly bills.“We cannot be striving to achieve our goal for Vision 2030 of ensuring that 85 per cent of our people have water if consumers don’t pay their water bill.  It is that important… you have to pay your water bill,” he implored. 22,000 residents in South West Clarendon, currently have difficulties with their potable water system Story Highlights Several strategies are being undertaken by the Ministry to deal with the lack of potable water Three communities in Clarendon have been prioritised to receive potable water within the next 18 monthslast_img read more

Eimskip Buying Nor Lines to Expand Presence in Norway

first_imgzoom In an effort to expand its presence in Norway, the Reykjavik-based shipping company Eimskip has reached an agreement to acquire the Norwegian shipping and logistics company Nor Lines. The company now plans to restructure Nor Lines’ business in order to improve its services and profitability by aligning it with Eimskip’s current operations in Norway.Nor Lines operates a fleet consisting of seven cargo vessels that operate three different trade lanes in and out of Norway.Restructuring will be made to the vessel fleet and the operation of the company, where Eimskip will take over the operation of five vessels out of the seven and thereby strengthen the combined service network between Norway, continental Europe and the Baltic Sea.Out of the five vessels, one will be owned and four will be chartered.Furthermore, Nor Lines is selling cargo capacity on the 11 vessels of Hurtigruten, which operates along Norway’s western and northern coast, calling 32 ports on a daily basis.Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the Norwegian Competition Authority.The estimated annual turnover of Nor Lines, which handles general and reefer cargo on sea and land, amounts to around EUR 110 million (USD 122 million). Eimskip said that the acquisition is financed with cash.“The acquisition of Nor Lines is a large step in widening the service scope and strengthening the current services of Eimskip in Norway,” Gylfi Sigfússon, President and CEO of Eimskip, said.last_img read more