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My Journey as a Rugby Girl in Indonesia – Siti Yuniarti

My name is Siti Yuniarti. In 2017, when I was 14 years old, I joined the Komodos. I had never been big on sports and I had never heard of a sport called rugby.

The first thing I learned after joining is that getting along with your teammates is essential. Being in a rugby team is like being in a family; you have to learn to how to get on with each other. At first impression, some players might seem selfish and others might seem arrogant. I learned to be selfless and grew to trust my teammates in supporting me.

Before rugby, I rarely exercised, so I was unfit. It was a challenge for me at the start to keep up with the physical training and to learn how to tackle. I was afraid of getting hurt from the contact or falling down. This motivated me to change my lifestyle. I start working out regularly and went jogging in the evenings. I changed my diet too, eating more food containing protein for muscle growth.

After several months of playing rugby, I went to play my first ever rugby tournament in Singapore with the Komodos. There, I played against much taller and fitter girls, who were much more experienced in rugby. It was scary at first, but with the right techniques I didn’t get injured and had fun playing. It made me reflect on my shortcomings and further motivated me to be better.

I am very grateful for the opportunities and experiences given to me by the Komodos. After five years of being raised by the Komodos, I was accepted into Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (Indonesian Education University) at the Sumedang campus in West Java through a special admissions quota for students who have excelled in personal achievement outside academic performance. In my case, it was my achievements in rugby. As part of my application, I submitted the certificates that I got from the tournaments in Singapore in 2017 and 2019 and from the Under-16s rugby national championship in 2019 Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Now, I’m happily studying and playing rugby for Sumedang District and for my university.

My coach told me about the Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation. Me and my friends are so grateful for the support of PHMF to the Komodos. I benefitted so much through your kindness. I remember in 2021 when Covid was bad in our village, we got a call from our coach that we could athletes vaccinations. At the time there were no vaccines in our village. We had to go to Jakarta to get the special athletes vaccines and the Komodos was able to organize transportation for that. So as rugby players your help to the Komodos probably saved lives.

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