Jakarta Komodos Rugby Club President Buys 23 Pairs of Boots for Junior Indonesian Players

When Mark Manderson was eight years of age his family couldn’t afford to buy him a pair of rugby boots. Fast forward 40-odd years and Manderson has found himself in a position to donate 23 pairs of boots for players involved in the Jakarta Komodos Rugby Club development programme for Indonesian children.

Manderson, the president of the Jakarta Komodos, said respected club members and coaches Agus and Jess Djanhoer, as well as many other volunteers, had nurtured dozens of local players over the last couple of years, with the club currently boasting more than 30 children from the villages bordering the club’s training grounds in Jagorawi.

“A lot of the kids at the start did not have proper sports shoes or boots and Agus mentioned this to me and asked if we could get sponsorship for them,” he said. “My response was as easy one; I said I will do it.”

Manderson, a business executive, said the request had triggered memories from his childhood.

“This goes back to when I was a kid – coming from a council estate back in the UK where if it wasn’t for the support of people like Harry Williams (my first coach from the age of 8) in helping get boots – I would not have been able to fall in love with game of rugby as I did,” he said.

“Through Rugby, many opportunities can arise and in fact if it wasn’t for rugby I would not have moved first from my home town to London, and also from London overseas. All of these opportunities came through playing rugby.”

Manderson said his dream was that some of the Indonesian kids could experience “the same opportunities that I was afforded.” “In the short-term it is our expectation that some of these players will represent the club at the senior level,” he said. “Longer term, we hope a number will make the National Team.”

Rugby development is a core component of the Jakarta Komodos’ mission, with the club hosting a team comprised of young women from a local orphanage, and core groups of players in the Under 10s and Under 8s age groups. Through the generosity of club members and sponsors, selected players are given opportunities to travel abroad to compete in international tournaments.