Touch football blossoms in Japan
A project involving Touch Football Australia (TFA) and the Japan Touch Association (JTA) aims to increase Japanese women's participation in sport and raise the profile of touch football in Japan.
Touch football is a growing sport in Japan with the Japanese national women's team, the Touch Blossoms, recognised as being among the world's leading touch football nations.
The project follows a memorandum of understanding between the two international touch football associations in January 2016 aiming to promote stronger relationships to support the growth and overall improvement of touch football in Japan.
It will assist the JTA to build governance, commercial and sport development models for long term sustainability, and deliver participation clinics for girls aged 12 to 20 in the regions of Tokushima, Osaka and Chiba in 2017.
TFA will establish long term participation programs through the training and education of the Japan Touch Association workforce. This will establish a sustainable model for participation and provide over 300 Japanese girls with the opportunity to participate and benefit from being physically active.
Australian national and state youth coaches will be on hand to deliver the clinics, providing expertise and coaching not currently available to Japanese touch players.
'Touch Football Australia hopes that Japanese participants will benefit from the opportunity to learn from a selection of TFA's most highly regarded coaches,' says Touch Football Australia General Manager of Regional Engagement and Compliance, Tim Arnold.
'Participants will be able to improve their core touch skills including catching, passing, defending and attacking techniques. In addition to this, JTA will benefit from the addition of resources and assistance in developing their organisational structure to increase development channels.'
The project is supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF). AJF celebrated its 40th anniversary throughout 2016 alongside the 40th Anniversary of the 1976 Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Australia and Japan. The outcomes of this project will expand the people-to-people and institutional links that exist between Australia and Japan.
'This program will provide a legacy for the sport of touch football to continue to grow, from the grassroots to the elite levels in Japan,' says Tim.
'It adds to the positive relations that have already been enhanced through the 40 year establishment of the Australia Japan Foundation.'
Grant rounds open in February for projects deepening connections between Australia and Japan.