Growing up playing football and cricket in Nairobi, Kenya, Alan Ouya didn’t know it would be Touch Rugby that would bring him so much joy in life.
Alan first picked up a Rugby ball at just 7 years old when he was no taller than his school desk. By the time he was 12, he was chasing down opponents and stopping them scoring tries with a “never say die” attitude that impressed his coaches.
At 16, Alan was hooked on Rugby. He could not stop watching Rugby 7s videos on YouTube and was left mesmerised by the speed, agility and cleverness of players such like Fiji’s William Ryder.
After working hard on his fitness, Alan joined a recreational Touch Rugby League at Nairobi’s UN Recreational Centre in 2012. He soon found his stride as he began to enjoy the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, often playing against much more experienced and older players. When his mother came to pick him afterwards, he would always be grinning and sweating – and counting down the days until next week’s game!
“Why should you play touch? It has the best of all worlds, not just sport. It helps your health and fitness. You’re in touch with a great community of people and you’ll build lasting friendships through it.
“Anyone – emphasis on anyone – can join and play, no matter what their level. This sport nurtures a perfect atmosphere of helping each other, teamwork and responsibility – the pillars of Rugby.” Alan Ouya
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Back at school, Alan progressed to the free-flowing Rugby 7s format and was soon made captain of his school team. University beckoned and, with a desire to travel far and wide, Alan was accepted to study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
It was at UBC that Alan rekindled his love for Touch Rugby. He tried out for the University’s XVs teams, but soon knew it wasn’t for him. His friend introduced him to a Touch program at Kats Rugby Club and the spark returned: the freedom of the pitch, combined with the camaraderie and core values, saw Alan go on an epic Touch Rugby journey. At his height, he collected Touch Leagues like fridge magnets and played four times a week!
For Alan, Touch Rugby is about its deep sense of community. During his final years at UBC, he signed up as an individual for a Vancouver Touch Rugby Tournament. He was placed in a team with who would become two of his closest friends to this day. Alan made several lifelong friends through Touch Rugby and enjoys the social traditions and bonding it is synonymous with.