The AFL footprint is extending beyond the shores of Australia at a rapid rate. Port Adelaide’s partnership in China, Europe’s continual growth in participation and the array of countries embracing Aussie Rules are increasing at a rapid rate. Countries as remote and varied as Palestine and Malta are jumping on board expanding the AFL bubble further outside of Australia.
On the 3rd of June in Palestine, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) hosted a ‘Young Women’s Sports Day’ in the capital of Ramallah. The Australian Representative Office (ARO) in Ramallah, in cooperation with the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Higher Council for Youth and Sport, organised the day which was attended by 11 to 16-year-old girls. AFL Europe collaborated with DFAT by sending every girl home with an Auskick pack and ball.
With expectations set at 100 girls attending, the organising committee was amazed to have 150 keen and excited participants. Girls from villages, refugee camps and sporting clubs in the West Bank area were in attendance; being even more impressive considering the mercury reached a top of 34 degrees.
Aussie Rules was a hit amongst all 150 Palestinian girls as they were put through the paces with some kicking and handballing drills before they went into a free-for-all match, with everyone joining in the fun.
The footies and Auskick packs were much appreciated souvenirs for the girls and will act as reminders of the amazing day they had learning Australia’s Game. No doubt they be making appearances around Ramallah in the near future.
Marcia Pius, Head of Office at the ARO, commented that they were “very proud to share our love of sport with the Palestinian girls, and hopes to build on our cooperation with Palestinian sports institutions and the broader community in future events”.
A enormous thank you goes to Marcia Pius, Lima Anfous, and Amani Hato in the Palestinian DFAT office for ensuring Australian Rules featured in such an amazing initiative. It was a pleasure to be able to assist in the delivery of such a special day for so many girls in Ramallah.