Around 80 children of both genders, aged 12-14, from five schools have played in the first rugby league tournament in Montenegro. The event, held in Tivat and organized by the current men’s champions Arsenal RL Club, saw elementary schools Branko Brinic in Radovic, Drago Milovic of Tivat, Njegos from Kotor, Bijela’s Orjenski Battalion, and the international Knightsbridge School also from Tivat participate.
Opening the tournament, the vice president of the municipality, Andrija Petkovic, said that the local administration recognized the importance of sports and put youth sports in the focus of their attention. “This year we have doubled the sports budget and I hope we can make this tournament a tradition,” said Petkovic. “The results are less important, the focus is on the game and fun.”
Igor Adzaip, president of the Arsenal club and Montenegro Rugby League, who organized the event, added: “The goal of the tournament is for children to learn the basics of rugby league and for this sport to be brought closer to them and further popularized. We are planning to start and form youth rugby league teams in the three municipalities of the Bay of Kotor. Montenegrin Rugby League has big plans, we finished the domestic championship with three clubs two of whom play in the Balkan Super League and the national team played its first international against Malta last year. We are putting together our application to be associate members of International Rugby League.”
Mitar Boskovic, a sports teacher at Knightsbridge school and level 1 rugby league coach at the Arsenal Rugby League Club, said that he expects this tournament will awaken additional interest in this sport among elementary school students.
“We want to break stereotypes among parents from non-traditional rugby areas,” he said. “People in Montenegro have a good predisposition for playing rugby league and I noticed several students who have great potential to progress in this sport.”