Kingdom 7s a success says sponsor
By ILIESA TORA
NUKU’ALOFA-October 7: 10.10am (Nuku’alofa Times): The first-ever Kingdom 7s tournament completed its matches at the Ha’alano Grounds in Kolomotu’a today, with major sponsors Digicel already committing to continue their sponsorship next year.
Two days of exciting rugby matches were the highlight of the event, which included competition in the Men, Women and Under-19 women.
In the end rugby was the winner, with tournament organisers happy that the inaugural event had gone well.
“We are happy with the way the tournament has gone and I congratulate the committee for that,” Digicel boss Ben Kealy said.
“Digicel will continue to back the event for the same amount next year.”
Digicel gave $10,000 as major sponsorship and added more for the teams and the special Plate competition.
United Nations Women also pitched in to be a partner with $20,000 pa’anga, most of it which went to the women’s competition – both in the Open and Under-19.
Tournament committee president Vanessa Heleta thanked all the teams for their support and all the stakeholders who have backed them.
“We would not have done this without them,” Heleta said.
Tonga Women’s Rugby Association patron Hon Fane Tupouvavau Tu’ivakano was guest at the closing ceremonies and thanked the committee for putting the tournament together.
She told the players and officials that women’s rugby was a major thing now and the push to have that developed locally was appreciated.
Samoan referee Avii Fa’apulenga controlled matches during the event and showed her worth as a Oceania referee with her good control of matches.
Avii was brought in by the tournament committee and stood out over the two days.
“We wanted to bring her in so that we could have a neutral referee to control matches and also help local referees develop by seeing her control games,” tournament director Hoko Tuivai said.
Avii said she was happy with the opportunity to come and be part of the first Kingdom 7s tournament and helping local referees here.
“I enjoyed the tournament and also being able to share my knowledge and also learn at the same time,” she said.
She controlled both Men’s Open finals in the Plate and Cup competition.
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