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To Asia on a bike

Young players from BTHV Rugby greet and celebrate with James Owens and Ron Rutland during their stopover in Bonn.

Young players from BTHV Rugby greet and celebrate with James Owens and Ron Rutland during their stopover in Bonn.

Bonn. Professional sportsmen Ron Rutland and James Owens stopped in Bonn last week as part of their charity bike ride.

23 European and Asian countries in 231 days. This is the goal of two professional cyclists, Ron Rutland and James Owen. Their mission: to bring the official match whistle for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup 2019 from London, the venue of the last World Cup Final, to Tokyo, the venue for the opening match of this year’s Rugby World Cup by bike, cycling for a good cause.

When they reach their destination on 19 September, the two cycling adventurers will have covered no less than 20,000 kilometres. After the start of the expedition on Saturday 2 February, they went from Twickenham stadium in London through the Netherlands towards Germany. When the two adventurers made a stopover in Bonn last Wednesday afternoon, they already had a total of 694 kilometres behind them.

After starting in the morning in Maastricht, the two bikers were on top sporting form as they cycled up to the Post Tower in the afternoon, where they were welcomed by around 40 members of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg Rugby Club and numerous young players from BTHV Rugby. Brett Gosper, CEO of World Rugby and Robin J Stalker, President of the German Rugby Association, were at the round table talks and celebratory reception that followed at the Post Tower, as well as John Pearson, CEO DHL Express and Markus Reckling, CEO DHL Express Germany. DHL is the official sponsor of the Rugby World Cup and is supporting the two cycling adventurers’ expedition.

During their journey, Rutland and Owens are collecting donations for Pass It Back, an initiative of Child Fund, the charity partner of the Rugby World Cup 2019. Pass It Back is an initiative that enables socially disadvantaged children in Asia to engage in sports while at the same time providing them with important basic skills for their everyday life. Part of the proceeds from every ticket sold for the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo will go to the Pass It Back initiative.

In the Post Tower, in front of an exciting sporting backdrop with the original Rugby World Cup trophy, the so-called Webb Ellis Cup, Rutland and Owens told of their experiences on their previous tour and explained their motivation: “For 35 years I watched how other people undertook huge adventures. When I rode my own bike through Africa, it changed my life. Child Fund is a wonderful charity that we gladly support and I have loved rugby since I was six years old,” said Rutland.

To follow Ron and James’ journey, go to this site.

(Original text: Sebastian Flick. Translation: kc)