Touch World Cup

Touch Rugby (Touch) is a fast-paced, high energy, thrilling sport that’s taking the world by storm! Bringing together the best Touch players from around the world, the Touch World Cup (TWC) will take place in Kuala Lumpur from April 28 - May 4, 2019. This will be the first time ever the TWC will be hosted in Southeast Asia.

Even more exciting, four of ISKL’s alumni and one HS student will be participating in the event: Georgina McKavanagh (Class of 2013), Jasmine Ng (Class of 2021), Jennab Zulkifly (Class of 2011) and Kenzi-Li Williams (Class of 2018) will be playing for Malaysia’s national team in the tournament and Zeynep Uçak (Class of 2007) for the USA's national team.

ISKL families are invited to watch New Zealand’s Touch teams’ training at ISKL on Saturday, April 27 and 28, 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, with a short welcome ceremony at 9:30am.

 

 

Jennab Zulkifly

When did you start playing Touch Rugby?

I started in ISKL in Grade 6; my very first session I showed up wearing Converse sneakers!! 

What was (is) your involvement with Touch Rugby at ISKL?

ISKL is where I learned about the sport for the first time. I was asked to play basketball and touch football and eventually chose touch (the smartest decision my young self made!). Now, I'm still assisting as a coach with both Middle School and [just this past season] with the Varsity squad.

Can you share with us a highlight from your time playing Touch and also an experience was challenging that you learned from. 

My biggest highlight(s) from playing touch is definitely all the friends I've made. Since ISKL, I've played in tournaments in Cambodia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China; I've made so many great friends and individuals from this sport I can easily say it's shaped me into the person I am today. One of the greatest memories is when I got invited to Cambodia with Amir (the 2015 Men's captain and my good friend). It was my first time meeting this community of well-known players in SEA and one of the leaders in our squad had messaged Amir saying he was nervous to have me join because he wasn't sure if I was capable enough to play in a more elite, older squad; Amir had told him to "just wait and see". Long story short, I think I proved myself capable enough to be invited back for the next tournament! 

One of the more challenging experiences I have throughout the years is [because Touch Football allows you to play in the same category as men] having a sense of "proving" yourself. I experienced a lot of other players tell each other to go easy on the girls, whereas I would prefer the equal aggression and style of play. It makes us realize that I can handle it and hey, maybe I'm even better than some of these boys. Overcoming the conversation of older/opposite sex players on and off the pitch is something I've learned from; it's made me tougher and confident both physically and mentally despite my physical appearance.

What advice would you give ISKL students thinking about learning to play Touch Rugby? 

Come down MORE THAN ONCE! There are so many rules and styles and skill levels that the first (few) sessions will ALWAYS be intimidating. And I see the look on some of these younger new girls who join the first session and half of it is stopping the game every other step because there's a new "rule" to learn; when you get to the stage of playing a game and seeing the flow, you will LOVE IT!

How does it feel to be participating in the World Cup on "home" soil?

Words honestly can't describe it. Being a Malaysian female athlete in this small, growing sport means the world to me. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do once it's all over but for now, my entire dream is less than a month away. I'm 110% excited and nervous, but honored to experience this journey!

Jasmine Ng

When did you start playing Touch Rugby?

I started playing touch when I was in 8th grade (2 years ago)

What was (is) your involvement with Touch Rugby at ISKL?

I play for the ISKL Varsity Touch Rugby team and I participated in IASAS in February 2019.

Can you share with us a highlight from your time playing Touch and also an experience was challenging that you learned from.

My highlight of playing Touch would definitely be playing in the IASAS finals against ISM and winning gold !! A challenging experience was when I sprained my ankle and couldn't play/train for a month.

What advice would you give ISKL students thinking about learning to play Touch Rugby?

Go for it! Don't be discouraged at first because it takes a while to get a hang of the sport but once you do, you won't be able to stop playing.

How does it feel to be participating in the World Cup on "home" soil?

Having IASAS at "home" was very thrilling and exciting so I can't imagine what it'll feel like to play in the World Cup on "home" soil. I feel so lucky and grateful that I am able to represent Malaysia and play my favorite sport in the World Cup. It still feels so unreal to me that it is in a months time.

Kenzi-Li

When did you start playing Touch Rugby?

I’ve been playing touch for about 8 years now. I was introduced to the sport when I was in 6th grade and have been playing ever since.
 

What was (is) your involvement with Touch Rugby at ISKL?

My passion and love for touch started at ISKL and continued through Saracens and fit touch Malaysia as well.

Can you share with us a highlight from your time playing Touch and also an experience was challenging that you learned from.

Playing touch is a highlight overall, you are always learning from not only your coach but your fellow teammates. However, with any sport come challenges, one of my biggest challenges was coming to terms that you’re always going to make mistakes, you’re not always going to be the perfect player because there is so much to learn. I found that the challenge was to continue with touch, to not give up just because I’m not getting things right. I learned that even though you can be playing touch for so many years, you can be so surprised by the new things you learn in every practice.

What advice would you give ISKL students thinking about learning to play Touch Rugby?

Touch is a very unique sport, at first, it’s hard to pick up because it’s not like other sports you might play. With touch, it’s not just about speed, agility and fitness but the vision for the game and it is a game solely dependent on your team. For the many years I’ve played touch, in the last two years I’ve learned more than I ever have over the whole 8 years of playing.   

How does it feel to be participating in the World Cup on "home" soil?!

To be playing on home soil, alongside fellow ISKL alumni and friends is such a great privilege. Never had I expected to be fortunate enough to represent Malaysia at a World Cup, a country I was born and raised in, a place I call home and I am thankful for the coaches and teammates who have helped me get here. It is a rare opportunity that I hope some of you can find in the future to come.

Georgina McKavanagh

When did you start playing Touch Rugby?

I started playing touch rugby in 2006, so I have been playing this sport for more than half of my life.

What was (is) your involvement with Touch Rugby at ISKL?

I have been involved with ISKL touch as much as a person possibly could. From starting out in 6th grade, and then joining the varsity team in 9th grade. I was one of the lucky few to be able to participate in 4 IASAS touch tournaments 9th through 12th grade.

Can you share with us a highlight from your time playing Touch and also an experience was challenging that you learned from.

My biggest highlight in touch (so far) is when I was playing in a university tournament on home ground. The Loughborough University touch teams were a group of misfits and just good pals really. For this tournament, Bristol University and the University of West England bent the rules a bit and sent a joint team to the tournament. This meant that they would have seven international touch players on their team. Loughborough only had two. We, somehow, got to the final against this Bristol team, and there was definitely a lot of animosity between us and them. The game ended 3-3 and went into a drop-off, which lasted 10 minutes. Down to 3 vs 3. I stayed on the field for the entirety of the drop-off and we ended up winning! Honestly, have never felt a high like that ever in my life (and I've skydived). It was the best feeling in the world.

Honestly, the most challenging experience has been this world cup team. I have had my fair share of personal tragedy in the past 12 months, and this national team has tested me mentally beyond anything else I've experienced in my life. Being able to channel my passion and emotion into something I've wanted since I was 10 years old has been both rewarding and demanding. However, there is a quote by Edmond Mbiaka that I live by: "The struggles challenges and obstacles that it takes to succeed in life is what makes success more valuable. Nothing great comes easy, and nothing easy can ever equate to greatness."

What advice would you give ISKL students thinking about learning to play Touch Rugby?

Do it!! It is the most inclusive, wonderful, fun sport anyone could ever imagine playing (although I might be biased). Touch globally is a fabulous community, and if you can get in there now, you'll be safe in the knowledge that wherever you go, you'll have friends.

How does it feel to be participating in the World Cup on "home" soil?

The fact that I'm even participating in a world cup is so surreal to me. So the home soil advantage is really just the cherry on top of the icing. I will be moving away from Malaysia after 15 years of living here, so this is an amazing way for me to end my wonderful time here in this beautiful country. And hopefully, I'll do the country proud

 

Zeynep Uçak

When did you start playing Touch Rugby?

I started playing touch at ISKL in Grade 9. I played varsity soccer during the first season, and decided to try out for touch since a lot of my teammates played.  

What was (is) your involvement with Touch Rugby at ISKL?

I played Varsity touch at ISKL for 3 years, attending IASAS twice..

Can you share with us a highlight from your time playing Touch and also an experience was challenging that you learned from. 

The biggest highlight for me in the last 15 years since I’ve played touch is all the people I’ve met in the community. I’m excited to see old teammates from KL and China, where I’ve played in the past. The biggest challenges were times when I’ve had injuries that have kept me out of the games, which have taught me patience and how to play to my strengths when I’m not 100%. I’m happy to be healthy for this World Cup campaign.  

What advice would you give ISKL students thinking about learning to play Touch Rugby? 

Touch Rugby is an amazing team sport for athletes of various skill sets and a great way to build relationships. There’s a worldwide community for people of all experiences, genders, ages, backgrounds so you can play for years!

How does it feel to be participating in the World Cup on "home" soil?

It feels great to be back and I’ve been the US squad’s ‘local’ tour guide. Although, my body is no longer used to the heat and humidity of KL, so that will be a big challenge!