‘Influential’ women’s standout Ada Milby working hard to raise rugby’s PH profile
Philippine rugby has already gifted the country two Southeast Asian Games gold medals and one sliver. Now it has someone in the sport’s most influential list: Top Lady Volcano Ada Milby.
Milby, part of the national women’s team, which bagged silver in last year’s SEA Games, was recently named one of the most influential persons in the sport by World Rugby Magazine.
“It’s another opportunity for us to raise the profile of Philippine rugby,” said Milby, who is also secretary general for Philippine Rugby Football Union. “It’s a strong message for the sport.”
The sport, which closely resembles the American football, captured a small but active following in the country after it was brought here in 1998 by American and Australian expats.
Since then, the country’s men’s team, the PH Volcanoes, won the 2015 and 2019 gold medals in the SEA Games.
But for Milby, sister of actor Sam Milby, the key to getting rugby into mainstream Filipino sporting culture is to penetrate school sports.
And what a better way to do it than getting included in the Palarong Pambansa calendar. Milby said they already got foothold in eight of the country’s 17 regions. But it needs to reach all of them to gain Palaro inclusion.
“It’s a journey that would take some time to get,” Milby said. “That’s why we try to strengthen our partnership with the LGU (local government units) and DepEd (Department of Education, which runs Palaro).
The sport has been a regular in Batang Pinoy, which is for out-of-school youth and students, with LGUs instead of regions running the show.
Playing as a prop, which mainly takes charge of the attack setups, Milby said the Philippines women’s team members is based in the country, while the men’s squad is mostly foreign-based.
A former US Army staff sergeant, Milby said they, too, have drafted guidelines for rugby to be allowed to at least resume training.
“It’s going to be zero contact that will be mostly passing and drills,” she said.
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