The 2016 Black Orchid Sevens Tournament has over the years become a significant development pathway not only for AROB Rugby, but for the entire island region of Bougainville.
With the inclusion of women’s teams to this year’s tournament, this has also become a sure sign of the continued efforts to enforce and promote gender equality across the code.
Coming off the back of the most successful sevens tournament in the country staged three weeks ago, President of the AROB Rugby Football Union, Peter Tsiamalili Jnr, has continued to praise the efforts of all involved, particularly the town of Arawa for opening up to the rest of Papua New Guinea.
“The Black Orchid Tournament has been one of the most successful sporting events on the island of Bougainville. It actually allowed the young men and women who have never had the opportunity to see other Papua New Guineans see them over in Bougainville,” said Tsiamalili.
“We’re dealing with a generation we call a lost generation. Majority of the kids that played during the tournament are sons and daughters of those who experienced the civil unrest,” Tsiamalili added.
The Black Orchid Sevens Tournament is symbolic of the ability sport has to help with the rehabilitation of changing the mind-set and vision of the people, leading towards the referendum in 2019.
“We have three governments on the ground. The national government, ABG and the Mekamui Government – All three in that one moment stood together. No other event on Bougainville has ever done that. You had three factions all uniting at once for the purpose of sports,” said Tsiamalili.
AROB RFU did more for the people of Bougainville, as the tournament alone went beyond unprecedented waters.
“The government has seen that sport is really helping the rehabilitations of the mindset and vision towards the referendum,” said Tsiamalili.
Moving forward, the AROB Rugby Football Union will continue to use rugby to amend the perception of Bougainville during the civil arrest.