Rugby Union Aims to Establish Presence in Timor-Leste

Dili, May 23, 2024 – In a historic move, President J. Ramos-Horta met with representatives from Asia Rugby at the Presidential Palace yesterday to discuss the introduction of rugby union in Timor-Leste.


During the meeting, Rodney Holt, Asia Rugby’s representative, announced, “We are bringing Rugby Union to Timor-Leste. Rugby is a sport played in 130 nations around the world.” He was accompanied by Qais Abdulah Al Dhalai, the Head of Rugby for Asia, who oversees the sport in 45 Asian nations.


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed, marking a significant milestone in establishing rugby in the country. Qais Al Dhalai hailed this as a “historic moment” and the “first stepping stone” towards this goal.

Expressing optimism about rugby’s potential in Timor-Leste, similar to its development in Indonesia, Qais stated, “We hope that Timor-Leste will become our 37th member union. Rugby, as an Olympic sport, has very good potential to have a presence here with boys and girls participating.”


President Ramos-Horta’s support for the MOU signing was acknowledged by Qais, who said, “Together, we can do even better. The President is very supportive because rugby involves youth.”


The next step will be a meeting with the Minister of Sports to discuss the development of rugby infrastructure and the necessary steps to promote the sport in Timor-Leste.


This initiative marks the first step towards establishing rugby as an Olympic sport in Timor-Leste, with the potential for the nation to become a new member of the Asia Rugby Federation.

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