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Premiership Rugby coaches in Colombia

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Sale Sharks community rugby coach Darren Lamon cannot wait to promote the sport as he travels around Colombia.

Lamon is spending a week in the South American country as part of Try Rugby Colombia, aiming to promote the sport in the area as well as providing coaching and education.

The scheme was set up to give youngsters in the region a social and educational impact through rugby and he is eager to spread his expertise as far and wide as possible.

"I’m really looking forward to it – it’s a great opportunity to promote Premiership Rugby and promote the success Premiership Rugby have had," said Lamon.

"If we can learn something while we’re over here as well then it is ticking a lot of boxes."

Following on from the award-winning success of Try Rugby Brazil over the last two years, also run in conjunction with the British Council, Try Rugby Colombia plans to use sport as a tool to engage children at risk teaching them important skills and competences such as teamwork, leadership and discipline. The programme will also seek to develop English language and intercultural skills through exchanges with the United Kingdom.

Premiership Rugby has sent Try Rugby coaches to Colombia to increase participation in rugby and to utilise the sport's culture and core values to initiate health, education and social change throughout the country.

Try Rugby Colombia aims to use sport to engage with children at risk promoting healthy habits, education and social improvement, as well as the promotion of the sport at the grassroots, increasing the number of children practicing the sport and improving the quality of the sport across the country.

Lamon will be teaching throughout the country, including capital city Bogota, as part of a team of coaches from a number of Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs.

As a representative of Sale Sharks, Darren hopes to promote not only the sport but his club as well.

He added: "This week is all about contact and from a personal perspective it’s about getting the Sale Sharks brand out there and continuing our good work developing coaches.

"The main thing is to make sure the kids and the coaches have a really positive rugby experience and the stakeholders who come with us see the value it will bring to the country."

The Try Rugby Colombia scheme comes off the back of a similar programme in Brazil, which has produced great success.
Those involved are hoping they can transfer what is happening in Brazil over to Colombia and bring about similar results.

Helen Clayton, manager of Premiership Rugby’s HITZ project, said: "The hope is that we can spread the success we’ve had with Try Rugby Brazil by using the model we have there.

"Every country is different of course but we’ve got a model that works and we’ll adapt it and tweak it.

"We don’t need to change it that much because the British Council here is so keen on what we’ve done in Brazil. They really want this project to happen and to make it work."

The programme was instigated after Colombia Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Maria Angela Holguin, created a sports diplomacy programme following Colombia's decision to voluntarily accept the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1612 of 2015 on the prevention of child recruitment by armed groups.

The British Council’s heavy involvement comes from their desire to bring about long-term change in Colombia, according to their programmes director, Aida Salamanca.

"The programme is pretty much built on the model that was based in Brazil to help us introduce rugby into the area of social action and social development," she said.

"We wanted to bring in the programme so we could train the kids up and get them interested in the sport so we could continue to develop the sport in the long term."
 

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