For the love of the game: In this series, The Straits Times looks at lesser-known sports. This week, dive into underwater rugby.

PUBLISHED: DEC 16, 2020

Like Quidditch in a swimming pool

WHAT IS UNDERWATER RUGBY?

It is a six-a-side, 15-min-per-half game started in 1961. While there are no scrums like regular rugby, tackling is allowed. It combines elements of basketball, water polo, swimming and free-diving.


Underwater rugby players zip up and down, left and right, tackling and evading opponents with the aim of throwing a ball into a hoop.


Quidditch springs to mind, but before you say, “Harry Potter”, the athletes aren’t on broomsticks and they vie for a saline-filled ball that sinks in the water instead of a quaffle.


Underwater rugby is played in a deep pool - from 3.5m to 5.5m. So you can pass the ball in any direction - up, down, left, right, and that’s the beauty of it, and that’s why it is a “3D sport”.


Typical underwater rugby gear includes water polo caps, free-diving masks, snorkels and fins. A full set of personalised gear can cost from $200 to $600, but gear rental is available.

“Anyone can play underwater rugby.... When you have a purpose in holding your breath, like snatching the ball or scoring a goal, it’s much easier.”

FIRST ASIAN TEAM UNDERWATER RUGBY SINGAPORE (FATUWR) SECRETARY LIVIA LIM

Growing community

The underwater rugby community is about 100-strong. Fatuwr hopes more people looking for a unique, challenging team sport will approach them to explore the sport.

SOURCE: ST REPORT BY DAVID LEE; ST VIDEOS AND PHOTOS BY MARK CHEONG; VIDEOS BY FIRST ASIAN TEAM UNDERWATER RUGBY (SINGAPORE)/YOUTUBE AND WARNER BROS ENTERTAINMENT/YOUTUBE; FAT.UWR/INSTAGRAM

PRODUCED BY: DENISE CHONG AND DAVID LEE