Wales Touch Association applauded for use of Welsh language

Wales Touch Association broke the sporting mould when they launched the six brand new regions that competed at the inaugural National Championships in April 2013…each of the regions were given a bilingual name.
Wales Touch Nationals Logo

 

 

Bilingual Branding

When Wales Touch Association (WTA) presented the names and branding for the Wales Touch Nationals held for the first time in April 2013, they created history by being the first sporting body in Wales to create sporting franchises with bilingual names.

Welsh-language television broadcasters, S4C use the translated version of many teams in the British Isles, for example, Caeredin when referring to Edinburgh Rugby, Caerloyw for Gloucester and Gweilch when discussing the Ospreys.  Many Welsh language publications or TV and radio programmes would also use direct translations when describing Cardiff City FC’s Bluebirds as Adar Gleision or Swansea City’s Elyrch (Swans). 

However, this is the first time that the owners of a brand, in this case a regional representative team, have proactively named the regions in both English and Welsh and reflected this in all of the branding.

Cyclones – Seiclonau
Rangers – Ceidwaid
Rebels – Gwrthryfelwyr
Red Kites – Barcutiaid Coch
Titans – Titaniaid
Warriors – Rhyfelwyr

A Living Language?

So why have the WTA done this and why is it important?

In Wales, around 1 in 5 people speak Welsh but the 2011 census shows that the traditional Welsh-language ‘hot beds’ where the language is the predominant language are reducing.  There are many varied and complex reasons for this which won’t be covered here.

% of Welsh Speakers in Wales, 2011 Census

Despite the fact that approximately a quarter of school children in Wales are educated through the medium of Welsh and all children in Wales are taught Welsh as a second language in school, there are precious few opportunities for youngsters to use and develop their Welsh in their recreation time.

There are excellent organisations such as the Urdd who exist to give people opportunities to use their Welsh.  However, once young people grow up and leave school, they may have limited opportunities to use their Welsh skills.

Some young people will simply stop speaking the language, seeing it as something belonging to the classroom or even worse, an embarrassment.

If the language is to survive – and the fact that it may not is a scary reality, then it’s use must extend beyond the classroom and into everyday life.  It needs to be seen and heard on the street, in shops, on TV, on the radio, in gigs.  In short, it needs to be normal for Welsh to be heard everywhere in Wales.  Even in the areas where it’s a tiny minority, those that chose to use it should not face an uphill struggle or have to protest in order to do so.

Welsh in the Mainstream

There is some truly excellent work being done to ensure that public services and to a lesser degree, large private companies act responsibly and offer some or all services in Welsh.  Some organisations such as HM Customs & Revenue have outstanding Welsh-speaking staff and it is possible to phone the Welsh help line to deal with tax matters in either language equally.

However, many of Wales’ sporting bodies have not truly embraced bilingualism and it is they that can really lead by example and encourage youngsters to not only use their unique language, but to be proud of it.

Poor Support for Welsh from NGBs

The Welsh rugby team is crammed with Welsh speakers, such as George North, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies,  Mike Phillips and Ken Owens to name but a few.  Imagine a ‘Use Your Welsh’ campaign featuring these players.  This could truly hit home with youngsters who idolize their heroes.

In fact, of the 11 National Governing Bodies (NGB) in Wales that receive over £400,000 of public funding, only three of them have a Welsh language policy.  Of the 42 NGBs that received public funding in Wales, 37 of them operate English-only websites.

In fact, it is sad to note that there is currently a campaign against the Welsh Rugby Union.  The WRU have been criticised for failing to provide supporters with the ability to access their services in their native language and pressure is mounting on them to communicate with their customers equally in both languages.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) are calling on the WRU to not only update their Welsh-language policy, but to operate their social media and websites bilingually, develop Welsh-medium courses and make all promotional materials bilingual.

The predicted costs for doing so are minimal but it does take some extra time, effort and patience to do so.

Amateurs Leading the Way

Compare this to the WTA; an amateur organisation that is completely self-funded and does not receive any outside grants or sponsorship.  It creates very little revenue and does not employ any staff.  It is run purely by volunteers whose love for the game is what keeps them putting in the hours behind the scenes.

The WTA have been posting to their Facebook page for the last 18 months

The WTA have been posting bilingually to their Facebook page for the last 18 months

 

So to decide to not only create Welsh names for the new regions, but to display them equally on the team logos is impressive and should be applauded.  The WTA does not yet have a Welsh-language policy, but it’s social media streams have been posting bilingually and the will is there for the organisation to operate bilingually.  The WTA’s new website is also being developed to be available in both Welsh and English.

A Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg spokesperson said:

“Sports can play an important role in promoting the use of the Welsh language and the Wales Touch Association deserves praise for this positive step. Hopefully this will set an example for other sporting bodies.”

So to the Wales Touch Association executive board, I thank you for leading the way and long may this continue so that young people can see that Welsh is part and parcel of life in Wales and is something to be proud of.

Perhaps some of the other sports bodies in Wales which receive £400,000+ a year of public funding will soon follow suit.

What about you?  Tell us about your experiences (good and bad) of dealing with sporting organisations in Welsh.  Use the comment box below

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Last Call for Pendine | Siapiwch os Hoffech Ddod i Bentywyn!

Does dim llawer o amser i fynd nes un o uchelbwynitau tymor Cyffwrdd
There’s not much time left until one of the highlights of the Touch season

Durka Durka Ladies, Pendine 2012

Durka Durka Ladies, Pendine 2012

Bydd twrnamaint dynion a thwrnamaint menywod ar ddydd Sadwrn 24ain o Awst gyda thwrnamaint cymysg ar ddydd Sul 25ain. Os hoffech gofrestru tim, llenwch y daflen isod neu i gael rhagor o fanylion, cliciwch fan hyn.  Does dim llawer o lefydd ar ol!

Dyma’r un o uchelbwyntiau tymor Cyffwrdd.  Lot o sbort a sbri mewn lleoliad arbennig!

There will be the Men’s and Women’s divisions on Saturday 24th August with the Mixed tournament on Sunday 25th. If you would like to register a team, complete the form below or for more information, click here.  Hurry!  There’s not many spaces left!

Plenty of fun to be had in an absolutely fantastic location.

 

Fideo Uchelbwyntiau  Pentywyn | Pendine Highlights Video 2012

Women That Play Touch, Interview with Miriam Evans

With the game finally spreading out of the Cardiff stronghold with new leagues forming in Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, there has never been a better time to get involved in touch.  This is one of the few sports in which men and women can compete together on the same field, creating a truly unique playing atmosphere.

Gorllewin Gwyllt taks to Miriam Evans, one of the Wales Women’s  most experienced players.  Originally from Tumble in west Wales but based in London for the last few years, she recently represented west Wales at the inaugural Wales Touch Nationals.  Here she discusses how and why she started to play touch and why she thinks more women should take up the game.
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If you like throwing a ball around, you should take up touch.  If you like running, you should take up touch.  If you like team sports, you should take up touch.

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Miriam

School Sports

I played hockey and netball whilst in school but then didn’t continue either once I left.  Later when I was 21 I started to play rugby by accident really after being persuaded to go along for one training session to see what it was like.  The rest as they say is history as I haven’t stopped playing since.  What I rediscovered was how much fun playing a team sport is and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t started earlier or continued with another sport after leaving school.  It is something I have always regretted.  Rugby then led me to touch and recently I’ve gone back to hockey, after 16 years away from it (I have to do something when I retire from rugby!). 

First Impressions of Touch

I got into touch because of the boys at my rugby club.  A touch league had started locally and they realised if they found a couple of girls, willing enough to play with them, they would get two games a night (one mixed and one men’s).  So that’s where I started one summer with the aim to keep fit out of season, improve on my handling skills ready for the start of the rugby season and to socialise.  My first impressions was that it was very different to rugby tactically (even to sevens), it was fast paced, very competitive and also those from the southern hemisphere were a lot, LOT better than us as they had been playing since they were kids! 
 
I loved the competitive element of it and also the fact that it can be mixed sides.  In addition it’s an honest sport – which is very important to understand as it is so fast paced.  I quickly moved from playing one to two games a night (the rugby girls set up a women’s team in the social mixed league in my second year so that we could also play two games a night!), and progressed to two nights a week then three!

The Game for Life

What keeps me playing touch?  I love it!  The beauty of touch is you can play it at any age at any level.  I intend to play until I can’t play anymore.  It is likely to go beyond my rugby playing days.  Competitive wise I hope that in the future the women’s side of the sport will grow so that we could also have an over 35’s and 40’s side like the men do.  I can see me always playing social touch.  

A Game for Men and Women

Touch is both an exciting game to watch and play.  It’s end to end action a bit like basketball in that respect.  It’s got a great social/community feeling about it.  It’s a great way of meeting people from all over the world not just locally.  For girls/women there are not many sports that you can have men and women playing together at the same level together.  It’s great for fitness too.
 
If you like throwing a ball around, you should take up touch.  If you like running, you should take up touch.  If you like team sports, you should take up touch.  If you like competitive sports, you should take up touch.  If you like social sports, you should take up touch.

Representing the Barcutiaid Coch (West Wales Regional Team)

I thought the set-up in west Wales was excellent.  Very well run and organised with great training venues.  I was impressed with the coaching levels and also the team spirit that was built up in a relatively short period of time.  But what I loved the most was the amount of young people in the squad keen to learn and get involved.  It was great seeing new talent coming through and maturing during the competition.  

Barcutiaid Coch Red_Kites_Logo

Everyone knows that west Wales was very much a developing team, with the most newcomers to the sport compared to the “internationally” stacked Cardiff and east Wales squads, yet I believe it was the squad that showed most improvement during the tournament and we certainly did not let ourselves down.  I therefore think that 2014 is going to be even better for the west Wales team as they grow and develop even further through attracting new players and continued training, ready for next year’s tournament.  2014+ the Barcitiaid Coch/Red Kites will be a team to reckon with! 
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If you’re interested in starting to play touch, there are now a number of opportunities to do so across west Wales.  In summer 2013, there are league modules in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, plus the newly-formed Wales Touch Series comes to Llandysul on Saturday 8th June.   For more information, get in touch!

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Further reading:

Brand New League Starts in Newcastle Emlyn
Why Women Should Play Touch
Touch Spread Further West This Summer

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What about you, are you looking to get involved in touch for the first time this year?  Are you in a team that wants to attract more female players?  Leave your comments below.

 

Cyhoeddir Barcuitiad | Kites Announced

Cyhoeddir carfanau Barcuitiaid Coch ar gyfer y Pencampwriaethau Cenedlaethol.   Barcutiaid Coch squads are announced for the National Championships in April.

Carfan Barcutiaid Squad 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(BILINGUAL MESSAGE – SCROLL DOWN FOR ENGLISH)

Barcutiaid Coch yw’r enw rhoddodd i’r tîm rhanbarth gorllewin Cymru newydd.  Dyna’r fframwaith sydd newydd cael ei ffurfio gan Gymdeithas Cyffwrdd Cymru er mwyn darparu cyfle i bawb ar draws Gymru i gynrychioli eu rhanbarth yn erbyn y chwaraewyr gorau yng Nghymru.

Ar ôl y sesiynau ymarfer cychwynnol, mae prif hyfforddwr Barcutiaid, Matt Adams wedi cyhoeddi ei garfan ar gyfer y Pencampwriaethau Cenedlaethol. Dywedodd, Matt;

Ar y cyfan, carfan ifanc, ddibrofiad yw hi ond mae pawb yn frwdfrydig a barod i ddysgu sgiliau a thactegau newydd sy’n berthnasol i rygbi cyffwrdd. Rydw i’n wrth fy mod gydag ymdrechion pawb hyd yn hyn ac rwy’n edrych ‘mlaen yn fawr at y Bencampwriaeth.

Fe fydd y Bencampwriaeth Genedlaethol yn cael eu cynnal ym mis Ebrill gyda’r chwe rhanbarth newydd yn brwydro yn erbyn i gilydd. Rhagor o fanylion ar wefan Cymdeithas Cyffwrdd Cymru.

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Barcutiaid Coch (Red Kites) is the name given to the new west Wales region. This is the new framework formed by the Wales Touch Association to provide an opportunity for everyone across Wales to represent their region against the best players in Wales.

Barcutiaid Coch Red_Kites_Logo

After the initial practice sessions, Barcutiaid head coach, Matt Adams has announced his squad for the National Championships. Matt said;

On the whole, it’s a young, inexperienced squad, but everyone is enthusiastic and willing to learn the new skills and tactics that apply to touch rugby. I’m really pleased with everyone’s efforts so far and I’m looking forward to the Nationals.

The National Championships will be held in April with six new regions to battle it out. Further details available from Wales Touch Association.

Could You Play Regional Touch for West Wales?

The West Wales regional team is now a reality with the announcement of the first ever regional training camp on Sunday 27th January from 2 – 5pm in Parc y Scarlets Training Barn.  The Regional Coaches will be Gorllewin Gwyllt’s, Matt Adams and Wales Mens Over 30 player, Christen Jones.

Since this is a brand new regional format, the question is who is going to make up the team – so do you think that you have got what it takes to play at the regional level?

Delwedd

Ysgubor Ymarfer Parc y Scarlets Training Barn

Wales Touch Association (WTA) has just announced the inaugural Welsh Nationals Tournament in April 2013.  The country is to be divided into six brand new regions who will compete over the weekend of the 6th and 7th April (location TBC).  The West Wales region will include men and women that reside in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and will be coached by Matt Adams and Christen Jones – supported by WTA’s new Elite Performance Director, Simon Williams.

Christen Jones

Christen Jones

The aim is for each region to field a men’s, women’s and mixed team in the Nationals and we will be doing the best we can to ensure that West Wales fulfils each category.

Anyone that is interested in playing regional Touch is called upon to come along to the first session at Parc y Scarlets at the end of January to show what they can do.  The session will include training drills as well as game time.

So What Are The Main Attributes That The Coaches Will Be Looking For?

  • A commitment to the team and training sessions
  • A positive attitude
  • Players that want to work hard
  • The ability to follow instructions and accept feedback
  • Tactical knowledge or a willingness to learn more about the game

Anyone that is interested should be aged 15 years or older as of 1st January 2013 and should register with Nationals co-ordinator, Gareth Revell.  All players that have been selected for Wales’ national preliminary squads are to participate and will be contacted directly in due course.  We also hope that those players that were not offered a squad place for Wales, following the recent Wales trials, will come to the regional sessions.

A series of training sessions in various locations across the region will take place in preparation for the April tournament.  Costs will be kept to an absolute minimum, but players should be aware that contributions towards kit, facility hire, tournament fees etc will be requested.

We’re really looking forward to taking on the best of Wales and immensely proud to be involved in this exciting new chapter of Welsh Touch.

FILM – Wales Touch Trials

Wales Touch Association are holding trials during November.  11th Wrexham, 18th Llanelli, 25th Cardiff

Here’s a short presentation with some action pictures taking during the recent European Touch Championships in Treviso, Italy.  Wales sent over 200 players and officials in seven different playing categories to Italy; Mens, Women, Mixed, Mens 30+, Mens 35+, Mens 40+ and Senior Mixed.

Wales Touch are very keen to locate new players who could make the grade at the representative level.  2013 sees the Home Nations tournament in Dublin, in 2014 it’s the European Touch Championships and in 2015 the Touch World Cup will  be held in Sydney, Australia.

The trials are open, for trialists over the age of 15.  If you think that you might have what it takes, you can register and get further details from the WTA website – www.walestouch.co.uk

Wales Touch On Look Out For Future Internationals

Guest post by Gwion Kennard, Technical Director, Wales Touch Association

The Wales team at the European Championships 2012 Opening Ceremony in Treviso

The WTA will be holding trials during November 2012 for the Mixed, Men’s and Women’s Open and all of the Over 30s squads as we build towards the 2013 Home Nations, the 2014 European Championships and the 2015 World Cup.

The selectors will be looking for athletes who demonstrate the following:
1. Responsiveness to on-field and off-field instructions and feedback
2. Ball retention
3. Defensive workrate and communication
4. Yardage
5. Followship
6. Leadership
7. Skills & decision making – 2v1 & 3v2 proficiency, planting proficiency, etc.
8. Attacking skills – Set-up play / 1v1 skills / running lines

The trial will be primarily drills through use of grids with a small amount of game-time at the end rather than mostly-game based. We are looking for potential in players rather than those who are closer to the finished article.

The trials will be held on the following dates:

11th November – Wrexham Details TBA
18th November – Llanelli, Barn at Parc y Scarlets from 1pm to 5pm
25th November – Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, Outdoor 4G pitch at The Vale Resort from 1pm to 5pm

Please send any expressions of interest to gwion@walestouch.co.uk to help our planning and so we can gauge the viability of the Wrexham trial in particular.
Please note, all current Touch internationals are expected to participate in the trial process if they wish to be considered for selection for the open and Over 30 squads in the 2013 Home Nations in Dublin. If you are unable to trial due to injury or unavailability for an extended period of time, please advise Gareth Revell at gareth.revell@hotmail.co.uk as the trials co-ordinator BEFORE THE TRIAL PROCESS BEGINS.
 

Those wishing to be considered for selection for the Over 35 & Over 40 squads are welcome to attend the trials as there is no age restriction, However an alternative selection process will be implemented for Masters players details of which will be provided soon.