RUGBY isn’t one of your usual mainstream sports in the Philippines, especially here in Cebu.
With the recent bronze medal finish by the Philippine Lady Volcanoes in the Women’s Rugby 7s of the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, Cebuanas Madille Salinas, Dixie Star Yu and Mae Ann Ubaub are optimistic they have raised awareness and hope to draw more people, especially women, to the physical sport of rugby.
“It’s a sport that isn’t known by many. That’s why we are campaigning (for the sport) and we did our best to get a medal to help promote the sport and show that rugby is not only for men but also for women,” said veteran Madille Salinas in a press conference at The Social in Ayala Center Cebu.
Salinas along with Yu and Japan-based Aiumi Ono helped the Lady Volcanoes win a bronze medal in the SEA Games after a 22-0 beating of Malaysia in the bronze medal match. Ubaub was also with the Lady Volcanoes as the Team Manager.
Another Cebuano, Eloisa Jasmine Jordan made the final squad but was injured two days before the team was to leave for Singapore.
“It was a great finish as a first timer because we got the bronze. It was a great feeling because we didn’t go home defeated, even though our aim was the gold,” said Salinas, who has been in and out of rugby as one of the members of the Cebu-based rugby club Lady Dragons since 2005.
Aside from drawing more people to the sport, the Cebuanas also hope that they will also get financial support, which they only had a little going into their campaign in the SEA Games.
“We need support. It is very hard without support,” said Ubaub.
The Lady Volcanoes have shown a lot of improvement since their inception in 2010. Yu believes that they will continue to improve and will compete with the best of Asia.
“We used to have a hard time scoring against Singapore. Now our match with them was thrilling,” said Yu, who is currently a college student at the University of San Carlos. “If we continue to train hard, we have a huge chance of reaching our goal.”
The Philippines lost to Singapore by just a try, 12-7. The win earned Singapore a trip to the gold medal match, which they later lost to Thailand, 39-0.
Salinas, Yu and Ubaub will be seeing action this time for their club, the Cebu Lady Dragons, in the 2nd Annual International Ladies Cebu 10s Rugby Festival on July 11 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).
The Cebu Lady Dragons will defend their turf against three teams from Hong Kong, two teams from Singapore, a Malaysian club, a Thailand club and a Manila team that is composed mostly of players from the Lady Volcanoes.