Australian Rules football has been growing impressively across India for a number of years now, driven in no small way by the drive and foresight of many people, most notably Sudip Chakraborty who was able to get the game accepted in states across India. Most commonly this saw small localised one-off tournaments or larger national events – almost all of which were singular annual events.
The first national tournament, the Indian National Championship Of Australian Football, run under the guise of AFL India was held in Calicut (Kerala state) in 2012, then Goa in 2013, Mumbai in 2014, Kolkata in 2015 and again in 2016. These were the foundation blocks for which localised competitions could potentially grow.
The Port Adelaide Football Club is delighted to welcome Premier Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, to its first match of the season on Saturday.
As part of the his state visit, Premier Li will, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, attend Port Adelaide’s AFL Opening Round game against the Sydney Swans at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
It follows an announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull in Shanghai during April 2016 of Port Adelaide’s intention to play a game for premiership points in Shanghai. That game will take place on May 14 against the Gold Coast Suns.
In its fourth year of operations, AFL Asia has further strengthened its ability to achieve its mandate of “growing footy in Asia” with the confirmation of its strongest committee to date, following a solid turnout at the recent Annual General Meeting.
After a two-year term as AFL Asia Vice President, former Vietnam Swan and China Red/Beijing Bomber Grant Keys will become AFL Asia’s third President, following Darren Whitfield’s decision to step back in 2017 due to work and family commitments.
Darren’s advocacy of local player development has left a massive mark on footy in Asia. His leadership has ensured the record number of locals now playing the game across the region is being fully supported by Asian footy’s governing body through new initiatives such as the All Asia Championship and local player quotas-to be introduced at this year’s Asian Championships.
The 5th instalment of the ARFAI National Championship has been held in Howrah Maidan, Kolkata at the Sailen Manna Stadium. The event boasted 12 teams across two divisions, with the best 200 players from across the nation representing seven Indian states.
With VFL/AFL legend, Kevin Sheedy, on hand to promote the game in India and mingle with the excited players and personnel at the event, last weekend’s tournament was a huge success.
The AFL India Facebook page stated, “What an amazing three days at the AFL India carnival - the ARFAI National Championship 2017 - the 5th edition.”
“The Jharkhand Crows - Australian Football won both the titles for both junior and senior divisions in style.”
Late last year the ABC reported about a young girl in Toowoomba who was taking Australian Rules football by storm, and in the process taking apart cultural and gender stereotypes to be an amazing role model and inspiration for all young, aspiring football players. Here is the story of Zimra, as reported by Allyson Horn for the www.abc.net.au website.
Ten-year-old Afghan refugee Zimra Hussain is tearing up football fields across south-east Queensland, her hijab flying in the wind.
Zimra and her family are part of the Hazara, a group heavily persecuted in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
They arrived in Australia in 2014.
She played her first game of football less than a year ago, as a new resident of Toowoomba on the state's Darling Downs.
Nick Bowen from the www.afl.com.au website reports that Essendon’s legendary coach has taken the initiative to push for his club to pursue an AFL match in India. With former head of football in India, Sudip Chakraborty, now at the club, there is a real possibility that the club could link with another to bring a match to the nation sooner rather than later.
KEVIN Sheedy will lead a contingent of Essendon officials to India as the Bombers seek to tap into the growing Indian community around the club and, longer term, eye hosting an AFL game on the subcontinent.
The Bombers' party will fly to Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, where they will attend the Indian AFL national championships, after which Sheedy will select the team that will represent India at the International Cup in Melbourne from August 5.
In a move which will see our great game reach more casual Chinese viewers than simply the attendance at the game, the AFL is negotiating with local Chinese broadcasters. It is hoped that the Gold Coast versus Port Adelaide match might attract an even larger market which, in turn, gives greater opportunities to grow the game in China. The following article from Matt Thompson at www.afl.com.au looks at this development for the historic game next season.
CHINESE broadcasters are in talks with the AFL to telecast next year's premiership season game in Shanghai to the local population.
Gold Coast and Port Adelaide will face off at the Jiangwan Sports Centre in round eight on Sunday May 14 in the first home and away game to be played in Asia.
Matthew Agius has reported on the Port Adelaide Power website, www.portadelaidefc.com.au , that a recent visit to China has the club better prepared and well placed ahead of the historic match against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 8 next season.
Successful China trip has Power well-placed for historic game
WHETHER it was Ken Hinkley taking on former world No. 1 table tennis champion Wang Liquin, presenting Australia’s game to a congregation of China’s leading media or educating Shanghai schools about Australian Football, Port Adelaide’s promotional tour last week was warmly received according to club CEO Keith Thomas.
In slightly late news, the Tokyo Goannas wrapped up the 2016 AFL Japan season with a 40 point win over the Senshu Powers on Sunday November 27, held under lights at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club.
Across the weekend just gone the season was wrapped up with the 2016 AFL Japan Awards night including the highlight of the evening - the naming of the 2016 'Peter Wilson Medalist'.
Looking ahead AFL Japan is setting sights on Melbourne 2017 and the International Cup in August next year. AFL Japan are taking registrations of interest and have set a December winter training schedule with more news to come with respect to January and February. The build up begins.