From the 7th of January to the 6th of April 2018 Via Sport ran its first ‘Sports Diplomacy through AFL NINES’ workshop in Denpasar, Bali, effectively contributing to the Australian Government Sports Diplomacy Strategy 2015-2018.
The Via Sport program delivered more than 144 hours of sports development clinics to over 300 Indonesian high school and primary school students each week from six schools across Bali, while successfully training three Indonesian interns.
The program was funded by the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) under the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Through the AII’s support Via Sport was able to provide ongoing access to facilities, coaches and equipment.
To showcase the recent skills acquired through the program Via Sport ran an inter-school competition with more than 80 students competing. The competition was a collaboration between Via Sport, the Australian Consulate, Denpasar and the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA).
Both boys and girls were involved in the competition who showed great enthusiasm. Before the competition commenced, Via Sport Co-Founders, Rory Brown and Dimas Bala Rena gave a short speech encouraging students to adopt a fair go attitude, before further sharing their experiences on the Australia Indonesia bilateral relationship. Both spoke about their involvement in AIYA and programs like the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP) – an Australian and Indonesian Government initiative and the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). Both Rory and Dimas acknowledged how involvement in organisations like AIYA, AIYEP and ACICIS are key to better understanding and collaboration between Australian and Indonesian students and young professionals.
The games officially kicked off at 9:00 am followed by a huge applause. The atmosphere was competitive after several weeks of training - as school reputation was on the line with students eager to show their skills.
Australian Consul, Drew Boekel from the Australian Consulate-General – Denpasar attended the competition noting that AFL had huge potential in Indonesia, while further discussing the Australia Indonesia Bridge school program and the importance of creating grassroots people-to-people links.
Despite everyone giving it their best, after several hours of competing the winners were revealed. For the girls’ division, the unrivalled SMA Taman Pendidikan 45 was the winner. The second and third place went to two separate teams from SMA Negeri 1 Denpasar.
SMA Dwijendra was the winner for the boys' division after a very exciting final against the well-known sports school SMA Negeri 2. SMA Negeri 2 Denpasar, was the runner-up. And third place went to SMA Taman Pendidikan 45.
The day concluded with an awards and trophy ceremony with each division’s best and fairest being announced. While for some the day ended in tears after a narrow defeat, for others in was a day of self-realisation that one day they were going play for Indonesia and represent their country at the AFL International cup in Melbourne.