| Jo Marshall & Damian Brady |
TWO Learning Support Assistants from BSP’s Panaga School in Seria have just reached the cusp of national selection for the Brunei Women’s Rugby team.
Nuranisah Hj Lamat and Hilal Kamis have both been shortlisted as top 12 candidates for the Rugby 7s at next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Under the selection trials, candidates needed to pass two fitness tests – one to be able to run 2.4km under 15 minutes and the other to be able to complete a 30m sprint in less than 4.6 seconds.
Nisah and Hilal represent the Panaga Pythons WRFU, the first-ever female contact rugby club in Brunei.
Although the team occasionally play matches against Bandar Ladies and Miri Rhinos, it was highlighted that organising games has been difficult as it is a very new sport for women in Brunei.
“We are grateful for the facilities at Panaga Club, but we need more support from the Brunei Government as we do not receive any funding from anywhere,” Hilal said.
“Many view rugby as a sport to be played by men only, especially in a country like Brunei, but this perception is completely false as it is already an established worldwide game for women. When I say I play rugby, some people look down and frown,” Nisah said.
“We want more women to be involved in contact or aggressive sports. In the society, women are progressing in terms of equality, however, we are still being left behind on the sporting field,” Hilal continued.
Both women played in an exhibition match against Bandar Ladies on September 13 and although it was a tough game, they came out on top, winning 20 points to five. They will play in the Baram Cup in Miri, mid next month.