The World Barbarians Foundation in partnership with International Gay Rugby will present the inaugural International Inclusive Challenge taking place at Saitama Misato Athletic Grounds in Tokyo Japan during the Rugby World Cup on October 5, 2019, and featuring gay, inclusive and traditional teams composed of players from around the world.
World Barbarians Foundation is proud to bring the International Inclusive Challenge to Tokyo Japan for the first time. The International Inclusive Challenge will bring together teams from around the world in support of tackling homophobia in sport and supporting clubs participating from cultures that still hold negative views of the LGBT+ community.
The challenge will take place during the Rugby World Cup, the third most viewed sporting event behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Three matches will be played on October 5, 2019. The teams making up this challenge will include Top Tier clubs from Tokyo Japan, Beijing China, an all LGBT club representing all of Japan, they will face 3 All-star teams comprised of the world’s best gay and inclusive players. All the players, guests, VIPs, and organizers are focused on showing the world that there is a place in sports for everyone regardless of stereotypes or identity.
Matches will begin at 0900 local time and are free to the public. The weekend will also include a rugby clinic run by current and former professional rugby players as well as various social and cultural events to celebrate rugby, Japanese culture and diversity.
Aaron Pokluda a player for the Japanese LGBT+ team said of the event:
“The International Inclusive Challenge will be a first on many levels. From the social aspects down to the rugby, almost everything in this circumstance is a first. We can’t wait for our Japanese and foreign counterparts to experience this event!”
William Howell President of the Worldwide Barbarians Foundation explained why he felt this was such an important event:
“The players and organizers feel it is crucial to provide a platform for all members of the LGBT+ community to feel they are a part of something and that they are not alone. These matches featuring both straight and inclusive teams allows them to showcase their talent and passion in an open and impactful way. This is especially important in cultures where the community may still be marginalized or shunned.”
The Worldwide Barbarians Foundation is registered non-profit organization focused on inclusion in sports through advocacy, education, and involvement. Featuring members from 20+ countries representing the full spectrum of sexual and gender identity, the foundation uses the sport of rugby as a platform to encourage teamwork and comradery within all the communities it works with.
International Gay Rugby is the Governing body for Gay and Inclusive rugby teams worldwide and have been leaders in working with other sporting governing bodies to address homophobia and inclusion in sports. More information can be found at https://igrugby.org