SIZE DOESN’T MATTER: Three Malaysian women in the game prove that rugby players do not have to be big, burly and formidable men
KUALA LUMPUR: RAISED eyebrows and quizzical looks often greet Stephanie Kong Pei Zen, Noor Aini Muhammad and Noraisah Wahab when people find out that they are Malaysian women rugby players.
Noraisah, who only started playing the game recently, said: “People are surprised mainly because of my size. They think that only big-sized people can play rugby.
Noraisah 25; Kong, 27; and Noor Aini, 30; are among a tough breed of women who are members of the Royal Selangor Club (RSC) Dingoes which was set up in 2008.
Kong, who started playing the game in 2009 for the Bucks Rugby Club in Singapore, joined the RSC Dingoes when she moved here Hailing from a sports-loving family, Kong did not need much persuasion to take up rugby.
“I used to play mostly soccer and my teammate said: ‘Hey, you’re small-sized but strong and tough. Why don’t you join the women’s rugby team I play for?’
“I gave it a try and was ‘hooked’. Funny, because I generally play the hooker position,” said Kong.
Noor Aini, on the other hand, fell hook, line and sinker for rugby quite by chance when she accompanied a friend for a game.
“I totally fell in love with rugby and now it’s my number one love,” she said.
Noor Aini who started playing with RSC Dingoes in 2009, played her first national game a year later.
The accounts manager, who works from 9am to 5pm, trains in the evening from 6pm to 8pm and then hits the gym till 10pm.
When Kong was asked whether her parents were concerned about her playing rugby, she said: “Of course, since we play full contact rugby, and moreover, I am the youngest daughter.”
Has she sustained any injuries? “Mostly bruises and a bad shoulder sprain from a collapsed scrum that put me out of action for a few months but nothing that would stop me from playing,” she quipped.
The three Dingoes and their teammates are raring to see action at the 49th edition of the Guinness Jonah Jones Rugby Sevens 2012 on Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Selangor Club Padang, Bukit Kiara Sports Annexe, from 8am to 6pm.
According to Richard Dutton, the tournament’s chairman, the Jonah Jones Rugby Sevens is expected to be an exciting event with 50 teams, including from Hong Kong and Singapore, participating in various categories.
It also promises to be a family affair as the event will include a carnival offering a potpourri of activities.