Kalkan Lykian Rugby Football Club, Kalkan, Antalya, Turkey.

KLRFCThis is a copy of a news article from June 2013.

KTLN would like to introduce you to a fledgeling club that is about to take off.

The Kalkan Lykian Rugby Football Club (KLRFC) is the idea of Keith White, a British born rugby fan, who has settled in Kalkan

But  as we shall explain, this is not an expat social club - it has a  community based ethos, which aims to embrace the youth of Kalkan.

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Launch meeting
First  of all, we want to let you know that Keith and a group of like minded  people, are holding a KLRFC launch party at Parc Kalkan this Saturday 22nd June.

The launch, nicknamed "Lunch with the Lions" coincides with the first test match between the British Lions and Australia, which will be screened live.  Kick off is at 13.00, and Lion burgers and bacon butties wll be available at half time.

Whilst  you are there, you can find out more about the KLRFC.  But to give you  some insight, KTLN met up with Keith and we asked him what it is all  about.

Rugby fans
Keith told KTLN that initially this  started out as a few rugby union fans wanting to arrange get togethers  to watch matches on TV - both live games, and some classic rugby  encounters.  So it would be fair to say that it started out as a social  group.

But they soon began talking about all the positive spin  offs from the game of rugby, and how it could be something that enhances  the already vibrant Kalkan community.  In particular, they would love  to introduce this international sport to the children of Kalkan - both  boys and girls.

Below: KLRFC supporters at Parc Kalkan.


Rugby in Turkey
You  may be surprised to learn that Turkey has a national rugby union team,  and there are 13 team clubs - mostly in the larger cities, in the north  west of the country.  The national coach is Irishman, Niall Doherty,

The  closest team to Kalkan is the Kuşadası Eagles, on the Aegean coast.  A  few months ago, the national team were playing in an international  tournament, in nearby Antalya.

And believe it or not, the massive  sports clubs of Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray once had rugby union teams.   The last match they played was back in 1947, when Fenerbahçe beat  Galatasaray, in front of 18,000 fans.

It is far from being a  mainstream sport in Turkey, but the KLRFC is undaunted.  It's growing in  popularity here, and with Istanbul bidding for the 2020 games, it is  interesting to note that 7 a side rugby will be back as an Olympic sport  in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.  Turkey will be fielding both men's and  women's teams.

Sport for youth
Another angle on this is  that rugby union could be a welcome additional sport for the young boys  and girls in Kalkan.  Over the coming weeks, months and years, the KLRFC  would like to work with local Turkish co-ordinators, and schools, to  introduce the sport to local children.

In fact, children don't  start out playing the full game; they would begin with "tag rugby",  which is non-contact variety of the main game, and would progress to 7 a  side rugby, before hopefully moving on to the 15 a side game.

Anyone  who knows anything about rugby union will appreciate that it can  be a  tough, physical sport, but when the final whistle blows, players  shake  hands and have a drink together.  And the fans are just as  friendly.   There is much to be admired about the spirit in which this  game is  played, both on and off the pitch.

Öytun ÇölokThe  game of rugby union could be beneficial to local children in a number  of ways - it's a healthy outdoor sport; it teaches them discipline and  teamwork; they would develop a camaraderie, and at very simple level, it  gives them something interesting to do with their time.

Who knows  - by the time the 2020 Olympics come round, we could have a Kalkan  player in the Turkish national team, given a bit of local support and  enthusiasm.  Why not?

Support for the KLRFC
This  initiative needs support, if it is to have an impact.  Local support is  key, but Keith has also been in touch with people involved in the  Turkish game at a more senior level.

He has already had positive  feedback from Öytun Çölok, (above, left), who is the Chairman of the  Turkish Federation of Rugby Football, and also editor of the Rugby  Turkey magazine.

KLRFC logoThe club logo
Keith  has already found a number of local supporters, and you may see some of  them sporting the club shirt - with its harlequin style quarters, in  black, red and silver.  See photo above.

The logo incorporates the three legged raven, from Lycian mythology.  It also features the Turkish crescent moon and star.

Contact KLRFC
If you want to show some support for this new group, you can go along to the initial meeting this Saturday 22nd June.

Alternatively, you can email them at this address: kalkanlykianrfc@yahoo.com

KTLN  wishes them well in their aim to bring the sport of rugby to a wider  audience, and in particular we applaud their intention to work on a  project that involves the whole community, and has a focus on Kalkan's younger generation.  Kolay gelsin.


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