EDC Rugby Coach Jetting Off On A Rio Olympic Challenge

Wed, 19/09/2001 - 01:00

A North-East coach is set to help take rugby to Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympic games.

Gary Beck, a coach at East Durham College and based at its Houghall Campus near Durham City, is one of 12 British coaches set to spend a year developing rugby in Brazil ahead of the sport returning to the Olympics for the first time in nearly a century.

Gary, who lives in Darlington, was selected from almost a thousand candidates and will leave for South America next week.

It is anticipated the squad will work in 12 schools, each with about 12,000 students. Producing just 12,000 new rugby players would represent an increase of 120 percent on the number playing the game in Brazil today.

Liam Gumbrill, Head Rugby Coach at the College, said: “Gary has been a great addition to the team over the last year, preparing our rugby players physically and taking the lead with the strength and conditioning. Gary has brought some fresh and new ideas to the programme that has made the whole outfit even more professional.

“The experience that Gary will gain from the trip abroad with be invaluable and hopefully set him on a path to bigger and brighter things. I look forward to working with him on his return.”

They will also be starting teams, working with hard-to-reach young people and teaching English informally.

Premiership Rugby will send the 12 coaches to Brazil in partnership with the British Council and SESI in Brazil. Premiership Rugby, the umbrella organisation of Aviva Premiership Rugby is supporting Brazil’s efforts to develop and raise the profile of rugby in Brazil by helping export the game to South America in this ground-breaking initiative.

Rugby entered the Olympics on 1900, in Paris. It did not feature at St Louis in 1904 but returned for London 1908. However, it was last included in the Paris Games in 1924.

The 2016 games in Brazil will feature rugby sevens.