BAHRAIN’S national rugby team returned to the kingdom yesterday with their silver medal haul from Doha, Qatar, where they went down battling, 17-5, to Thailand on Saturday night in the final of the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy.
Appearing in the 16-team, two-day tournament for the very first time – and in only their second international competition, following their triumphant international debut in Amman where they won the Jordan Sevens last month – the unseeded Bahrain team left fellow Asia Rugby (AR – the sport’s governing body in the continent) members stunned with their skilful, unbeaten run to the final where they, unfortunately, lost to the Thai side.
Bahrain defeated Iran 22-5 in their opening game in Doha on the first day before securing a hard-fought 19-19 draw against Uzbekistan. On the second day, they overcame India 19-10 before vanquishing Afghanistan 19-0 to enter the final.
“Bahrain’s national team astonished the other Asia Rugby members in Doha and cemented its place among the teams to watch for in the Middle East and Asia,” Bahrain Rugby Federation (BRF) president Nader Shaheen said.
“The tournament was tough with some of the best teams in Asia and I am delighted for the team whose commitment and passion to rugby resulted in this fantastic outcome in Qatar. We are extremely proud of this achievement and the players’ devotion to Bahrain rugby.”
The BRF’s director of rugby, Rory Drummond said he was proud of how quickly the team had been able to develop and compete with the best sides in Asia since its first ever training session just six months ago.
“I am incredibly proud of what we, as a group, have been able to achieve in a short time,” he said.
“It is only six months ago to the day that we met up for the first ever Bahrain national rugby training session and to show that we’ve been able to develop so quickly and compete with the best in Asia against full time programmes such as India is hugely satisfying.
“I would like to thank all the players, coaches and medical staff for giving everything they had, and finally, congratulations to Asia Rugby and Qatar Rugby Union for hosting a truly memorable event.”
New fixtures for the Bahrain team are being considered with the BRF also making plans to host an international sevens tournament in Bahrain next year, potentially in May.
The BRF was established in February 2022 on the directives of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Asia Rugby membership enables Bahrain to field a national representative team in competitive and friendly international fixtures against the other 35 member countries.