National team member and official Ada Milby is optimistic they can continue elevating the standard of rugby in the country despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.
Still not allowed for training and competition by the Inter-Agency Task Force, Milby said they have proposed modifications with hopes of getting approval in the near future.
An example is to have zero contact with athletes only resorted to passing the ball.
“It’s not a replacement, but an adaptation to the current situation. Right now, there’s still no face-to-face training for the athletes, but we’re doing online workouts. We keep in touch and check on each other’s mental health,” said Milby.
Also serving as a secretary general in the Philippine Rugby Union, Milby said they will slowly continue their vision in promoting the sport in the grassroots level once the pandemic situation eases.
They currently have 18 clubs across the country including Cebu, Pampanga, General Santos City, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro.
They are also working for the sports’ including in the Batang Pinoy and the Palarong Pambansa, getting a foothold in 13 of the 17 regions.
Milby said penetrating school sports is a crucial step in putting the sport in the mainstream. She said they have been building partnerships with various local government units and the Department of Education.
“I think when the time comes when people first associate the word ‘rugby’ to the sport and not to the glue or the drugs, then I know that we’d made it domestically,” said Milby, sister of actor Sam Milby.
Recently named as one of the most influential persons in the sport by World Rugby Magazine, Milby hopes to build more partnership with corporate sponsors not only for rugby but in Philippine sports, in general.
She is currently running independently as second vice president in the upcoming Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) elections.
A member of the Asia Rugby Executive Committee and chairperson of its Women’s Rugby, Milby also became the first woman member of the World Rugby Council in 2017.
Her advocacy is for building sustainability for national sports associations, helping them diversify their portfolio for potential corporate sponsors so they wouldn’t have too much reliance on government funding.
“It’s important for the NSAs to recognize the partnerships with the Philippine Sports Commission and corporate partners, to focus on how we can support and teach other NSAs in creating tools and resources so that they can be self-sustaining,” Milby said.