The RLWC2021 team recently visited Jamaica for the latest leg of the International Development Programme (IDP) initiative. The visit to Jamaica, who have qualified for the men’s tournament in 2021 for the first time, was the third trip as part of the IDP, following previously successful trips to the Netherlands in October, and Papua New Guinea in November.
The series of events, organised by the tournament’s InspirationALL team, aims to develop good practice and to share knowledge and experience with burgeoning rugby league nations.
The team travelled to Kingston with the central focus on delivering a workshop with the Jamaican Rugby League Association to share knowledge around governance, marketing, sport development and talent identification. The team took the prestigious Paul Barrière Trophy with them, as the local community got their first glimpse of the prize which sixteen nations will be battling it out for in 2021.
Furthermore, the trip included a series of community engagement opportunities, including; a RLWC2021 presentation as part of the annual Caribbean Sports Science Conference at the University of Technology; a rugby league coaching session with students at Cedar Grove Academy and meeting students at G C Foster College and Campion College; as well as attending the schools 9’s Championship.
By working alongside the Rugby League International Federation, and with the backing of UK Sport, the RLWC2021 IDP aims to build partnerships to target barriers to the sport’s growth in individual developing nations.
Tracy Power, RLWC2021 Legacy Programme Manager, said: “The trip to Jamaica was one to remember. The IDP plays an integral part in ensuring that RLWC2021’s aims are met, and the welcome and subsequent reaction we received shows that everyone’s efforts are being rewarded.
“The sport in Jamaica is on the rise following their sensational qualification to RLWC2021, and it was great to be able to boost the excitement for the local communities, as well as seeing some of the talented grassroots rugby league in Kingston.”
Romeo Monteith, JRLA Director of Rugby, said: “The IDP trip helped to build new partnerships with important stakeholders on the island and the transfer of knowledge in the workshop will greatly benefit our administrators, many of whom have already begun to change the way they manage their clubs.
“There was a genuine excitement and buzz created in the local rugby league family, to see the trophy up close in schools and colleges has brought home just how massive of an achievement Jamaica's qualification to RLWC2021 is. The visit means that another generation of players and administrators will be inspired. It took ten years of passion and dedication to get here and now others will be inspired to repeat this adventure in the future."
Asif Ahmed, British High Commissioner to Jamaica, added: “Over the next two years, the United Kingdom will be the focal point for sports and Jamaica is very much a part of the story of ambition, determination and success. A few days ago, we were dazzled by the Rugby League World Cup trophy when it was brought to Kingston by the organisers of the competition. The Reggae Warriors have qualified and will offer a real challenge to England, Australia and others. The Jamaican players I spoke to have the passion and spirit to come together as a team. Over the last 9 years, rugby league has become more popular at schools and I am sure seeing the Warriors in action will inspire Jamaicans, who have a record of success in many sports, to build on the example set by this pioneering team.
“There is the ICC World Cup, the Netball World Cup and Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 on the horizon and each of them will have Jamaicans competing to continue the proud record of achievement in sport.”
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