World title for touch
TOUCH: From playing local junior club touch football in primary school to representing Australia on the world stage, for Rachel Walsh and Ali Bakhach the days of playing in the U10s seems so long ago.
Having honed their skills with junior clubs, to representing the Sunshine Coast region at school and club level, and then Queensland at a national level, the two young players returned home as world champions having represented their country at the 2018 Federation of International Touch Youth World Cup in Malaysia.
After attending the national selection trials in Sydney earlier in the year, Rachel from Marcoola and Ali from Sunrise Beach both received a call up to don the green and gold at the international level.
Rachel (U20 Women) and Ali (U20 Mixed) joined the Australian squads and headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to pit their skills against the best in the world.
Going into the event, New Zealand had a hold on the Cup, so the challenge was there for the Australians to bring their A games.
Nine countries attended the event: New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Malaysia, Singapore, India, China, Hong Kong and Australia.
Most teams played three games per day from August 8-11 in very hot and trying conditions, so it was an achievement to bring the World Cup home.
Rachel and Ali received incredible support from the local touch football community, with both Coolum and Noosa Touch Football clubs providing financial assistance to the players.
Rachel received support from the Sunshine Coast Council and many Marcoola businesses got behind her in a raffle and with donations.
"The experience was incredibly special and the community support was overwhelming. We live in a truly amazing and very special part of the world.”
Coolum Touch Football Club is currently looking for players for their open men's and women's competitions.
Interested players can contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.