MMA exponent Colleen Augustin ready for flag football challenge

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) exponent Colleen Augustin is ready for a new challenge in next week’s International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Asia-Oceania Flag Football Continental Championship.

Malaysia will host the inaugural tournament at EV Arena in Shah Alam, Selangor, over three days, starting on Oct 27.

The champions will qualify for next year’s IFAF Flag Football World Championships in Finland.

Twenty teams from 11 countries – Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand – will compete in the event, which is the first since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced earlier this week that flag football will be a part of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles (LA28).

Flag football joins baseball and softball, cricket, squash, and lacrosse as new sports in LA28.

Augustin, who only picked up the sport last year, said she was excited to be a part of the Continental Championship, and promised the Malaysian team would go all out to get as many wins as possible.

“As one of the captains of the team, I can say without a doubt that we will give our everything – blood, sweat and tears – on that field and perform as a team,” said Augustin, one of Malaysia’s offensive captains for the tournament.

From ballet to MMA and now flag football, Augustin is certainly light on her feet, and she will also have to think quickly on the field as Malaysia will face India, New Zealand, and the Philippines in Group B.

Australia heads Group A and has Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand for company.

The Malaysian men are also in Group B with Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand. Australia, India, Japan, Kuwait, the Philippines, and Singapore are in Group A.

Asked if she would consider flag football as an alternative career now that it is in the Olympics, the Penang native said she would leave it to fate.

“I am not sure. I am taking the opportunities that the universe is giving me at this point, as and when I am ready,” said Augustin, an avid runner who won Malaysia’s first gold medal at the IMMAF Asian Championships in 2019.

“I am an MMA fighter, and my fiancé (Kasun Botheju) is a rugby player. I wanted to have a sport that we could do together, and that was how I got started in flag football a year ago.”

Asked if she was thinking about the Los Angeles Olympics, she replied: “The answer to that comes with time. I will let my actions speak”.

There were two other continental tournaments earlier this year. The United States’ men’s and women’s teams won on home soil in July. A month later, Germany’s men’s and Britain’s women’s teams won the European titles in Ireland.

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