Following last year’s success of the inaugural national level tournament of Australian Rules Football in Kerala, India and the wonderful reception it enjoyed from people, it was time for hosting the 2nd annual national championship - AFL India - OGM Cup 2013. The venue for the tournament this year was the richest state of India, in terms of per capita GDP, Goa which is located on the western coast of India.
There was fair bit of improvement on last year's tournament which witnessed participation of five teams from three states of India. This year, with the immense popularity of the sport increasing day by day, a new state featured in the tournament from West Bengal, the birth place of Footy in India. All up there were six teams participating- three junior teams and three senior teams. The senior teams were Bengal Tigers, Maharashtra Giants and Kerala Bombers and the junior teams were Maharashtra Giants, Maharashtra Tigers and Tamil Nadu Kangaroos. All the teams played in round robin format with the top teams qualifying for the Grand Final. This year the tournament witnessed two winners-one in the senior division and one in the junior division attesting the fact that the popularity of Footy in India is disseminating like wildfire.
Always on the lookout for news on potential new teams or destinations playing Australian Rules football, I stumbled across the article below about our home grown game being played in Nepal at the base of Mt Everest.
There are many photos of people brandishing their scarves in club colours at one of the base camps or locations prior to their ascent. There is even the occasional photo of someone kicking a ball with the mountain as a backdrop. But this article was different. It looked at the very embryonic beginnings of something that one day may grow.
The 31st October 2013 marked a historic day for the Australian Rules Football Association of India (ARFAI). A successful bid for the Australian Sports Outreach Programme (ASOP) grant resulted in the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the AFL Headquarters signing an agreement to pass the grant in favour of ARFAI. The grant will help the ARFAI develop Aussie Rules Football in India with help from partner organisation Magic Bus - India.
The launch of the agreement was hosted at the Australian High Commission in Delhi. The grant was passed to assist focused development of Footy in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. ARFAI in this period will be working in close quarters with Magic Bus, India which is an international sport NGO helping unprivileged children using sports as a medium to relay social messages. Apart from the social programmes, ARFAI will also engage in educational programmes in other states as well through the India chapter of Global Community Sports (GSC) which is a company conducting educational and global cultural exchange programmes using Footy as the medium.
It is three thousand odd kilometres between Punjab in north India to Kerala far down south. It’s another 2000 kilometres between Gujarat far west and West Bengal on the eastern borders. Massive distance the figures suggest and the present Secretary General of the Australian Rules Football Association of India, Sudip Chakraborty, has travelled the length and breadth of the nation repeatedly for the past 12 months just for footy. Starting from the national championships in Kerala in 2012 and set to culminate in another championship in Goa this November, this twelve months has been one hell of a ride for this footy vagabond.
A cricket fanatic and open to new ventures, Sudip jumped on the footy bandwagon in 2008 and before long he had become an integral part of the sporting activities in the country. By the end of 2011, Sudip had already represented his country in two International Cups, and as the days rolled on, what started as an exploration, turned into a vision and a stubborn will to make his dream come true.
With the kind assistance and generosity of Jonathan Cooper and the Osaka Dingoes Australian Football club, the following article is an interview with one of the icons of Australian Rules football in Japan. The answers to the interview questions have been produced in both English and Japanese out of respect for the loyal national readership in Japan and so that the current University players can read his message and follow in his footsteps.
With the development of the game of Australian football in Asia high on the agenda of the current AFL administration, we thought we would interview and share with you the thoughts of the Dingoes' Takaaki Seto, a man who has been involved in Japanese football for twelve years now and who was influential in establishing the university football system in Japan.
'Seto' as he is more commonly referred to, is currently a back pocket at the Osaka Dingoes and has represented Japan at the 2002, 2008 and 2011 International Cups. He won the Peter Wilson medal for league best and fairest in 2007, and won the Osaka Dingoes' best and fairest award in 2012.
On Saturday, October 5th, Japan's largest footy tournament was held at Seimei-no-mori Resort in Chiba.
Despite the unfortunate rainy weather, the tournament was carried out as initially planned receiving the attendance of 3 local Japanese teams (Eastern Hawks, Komazawa Magpies, Senshu Powers), 1 Expat team (Tokyo Goannas), 1 mixed team (Tokyo Bay Suns), and a visiting team from Box Hill North.
The games were played with 9 players each on the ground, structure of 10 minute halves for preliminary rounds and semi-finals, and 15 minute halves for the Grand Final.
Eastern Hawks finished on top after a seesaw game against the Tokyo Bay Suns in the Grand Final.
This report courtesy of Hiroyuki Toyama from the AFL Japan.