Tuvalu: “You can’t play rugby on a runway”

On my recent visit to the Pacific island of Tuvalu, I was intrigued to discover its unusual sporting story.

When the sun sinks, and the baking heat subsides, the 1.7km airplane runway in the capital Funafuti comes to life as the main sports ground on the island with games of football and volleyball taking place all around.

It turned out that the airfield was built during World War II, which gave Tuvalu a fast link to the outside world and also a vast area that for many decades was its only playing field.

However, this runway also paved over the farmland on the main island and Tuvalu has been reliant on imported food ever since.

One of the main reasons that football is the national sport here instead of rugby, which is very popular throughout the Pacific region, is you simply can’t play rugby on a runway – or not without serious injury! Continue reading.

Mark Beaumont is following the Queen’s Baton Relay around the Commonwealth, leading to next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, UK. Regular updates are posted on his blog.

Source: BBC

Image: Twitter

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