Vava’u youth enjoyed returning to Quick Rip rugby games last Saturday, 6 June, at Toula Rugby field, after CoViD-19 restrictions had stopped all sports games in Tonga since the lockdown on 26 March.
Quick Rip is a non-contact rugby game that is safe and easy-to-play with the aim to encourage young men and women, their parents and communities to be active and practice healthy eating behaviours.
The CoViD-19 restrictions were eased last month to allow non-contact sports to resume although only 100 people are currently permitted to gather in an outside area.
Vava’u Quick Rip organiser, Inoke Taufa, told Matangi Tonga the sport is very popular with six teams and approximately 90 boys involved in the program on Saturday.
He added there were a number of star players on the first day of the program including Semisi Fifita (Falaleu), Fotu Tonga (Neiafutahi), Uikelotu Moala (Toula), Aniseko Oneone (Utulangivaka), Kepueli Moala (Toula), and Lopeti Wolfgram (Fungamisi).
“Girls [teams] will commence this Saturday at Fangatongo Field,” he said.
Teams are made up of under 12, 15, and 18 year olds.
The Quick Rip rugby program is funded by New Zealand under the Sports for Health Rugby Program and was introduced in Tonga and other Pacific Island countries in 2018 under a Pacific Sporting Partnership delivered by New Zealand Rugby.
It aims to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage Pacific children to be active and to get involved in sports as well assisting efforts to reduce the rate of non-communicable diseases.