Sevens star Ada Milby makes history as Philippines first union president

Philippines rugby stalwart Ada Milby has made history by becoming her country’s first president of its national union, according to the South China Morning Post.

The 37-year-old former figure skater and American Football player was this week chosen as the new president of the Philippines Rugby Football Union, becoming one of the few but growing number of women who hold leadership positions in world rugby.

Milby, previously secretary general of the PRFU, was elected unanimously by her peers in the body’s executive, with supporters giving recognition to her outstanding work as an Asia Rugby senior member and also World Rugby’s first female council member.

Still active as an elite player, Milby said she hoped a day would come when women rising to leadership positions in sport is no longer news.

“I get that that’s where we’re at in our journey of trying to get more women into leadership positions and I don’t want to undermine the fact that it is terrific that I’m the first female president of Philippines Rugby,” said Milby, who replaces Rick Santos after his eight-year tenure ended.

“But the whole point is we want to get to the stage where it’s not whether you are male or female but you are the most qualified for the job.”

Milby is not the first female leader of a country’s rugby body, according to World Rugby. Rolande Boro is president of the Burkina Faso union, while other high-ranking women include Liza Burgess (Wales RU vice chair), Sisy Quiroz (CEO Peru), Maria Catalina (CEO Colombia), Mariana Mine (CEO Brazil, announced this week) and Keisha Ann-Down (Jamaica vice chair).

World Rugby stressed this is not an exhaustive list, adding: “As part of the transformational women’s strategic plan to accelerate the global development of women in rugby 2017-25 there has been a number of changes implemented to support the development of women both on and off field.

Edited by Katrina Andrews

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