International Gay Rugby promotes sports’ inclusion with Brand South Africa

Brand South Africa in partnership with International Gay Rugby (IGR) and Worldwide Barbarians, hosted a VIP brunch last week ahead of the inaugural International Inclusive Challenge (IIC) that took place in Tokyo this weekend.

The tournament, the first of its kind in Asia, included gay and inclusive rugby players from Japan, playing as the “IGR Japan Samurai Warriors” as well as top-tier rugby clubs, Tokyo Crusaders and the Beijing Devils, all playing to promote inclusivity, diversity and equal rights in rugby in Japan.

International Gay Rugby play their part for inclusion

This is aligned to Brand South Africa’s drive to promote awareness of constitutional rights and freedom of choice. As the country celebrates #pridemonth, citizens are encouraged to celebrate diversity. In fact, the first South African pride parade was held in Johannesburg on 13 October 1990. This is, therefore, a celebration of human rights through sports.

Brand South Africa hosted the brunch at Pasela Resorts in Tokyo in celebration of this milestone in Japan. Delegates at the brunch were officially welcomed by the South African Ambassador to Japan, His Excellency Mr. Smuts Ngonyama and key-note speaker, Mrs Akie Abe, spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan.

7a278a59 igr - International Gay Rugby promotes sports’ inclusion with Brand South Africa
(L-R) William Howell – World Barbarians_ Allen Vansen – CEO, Rugby Canada_ Ben Owen – IGR Chair_ Mrs Akie Abe – Spouse of Prime Minister of Japan_ H.E. Smuts Ngonyama – RSA Ambassador to Japan Photo: Aaron Pokluda/International Gay Rugby

The guests also heard from Robert Brophy, World Rugby CFO who was in attendance, before Mr Nobutu Tsunemi from the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) signed an anti-LGBTphobia commitment with IGR.

Changing the world through sport

“Madiba once told us that sport has the ability to change the world,” says Ms. Sithembile Ntombela, Acting CMO: Brand South Africa. “This was once again proof. We are so grateful that as Brand South Africa we can be a part of this history-making weekend and to have had it during Pride Month in South Africa makes it even more special.”

This sentiment is shared by International Gay Rugby Chair, Ben Owen who reiterated the importance of the brunch as part of the weekend’s upcoming events in the land of the rising sun.

‘We look forward to making history this weekend, when participants from all the world, of all different sexual orientations and gender identities, show once again that wherever you are in the world, rugby is a sport for all,” concludes Owen.

Issued by International Gay Rugby

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