One tough cookie

STANDING at 184cm and weighing 87kg, Danial Hakimi Azman has been playing rugby since he first started school at age 15. Although he may have left the classroom for years now, he continues to play with the Johannians Rugby Club (Green Machine) and the team recently won The KL Rugby League Division 1 games.

"It was a really tough match against The UIA Stallions; everyone put in 110 per cent effort. We even got into a small fight with our opponents and one of our players lost a tooth. But when the game ended, we were all shaking hands and cracking jokes; that is the beauty of rugby," he recalled.

The well-toned and muscular 27-year-old has always played the Second Row position, even till today. He says it is because with his height, physique and strength – and his coach would agree – he is best suited for the position.

Danial graduated in International Hotel Management and is currently working as a marketing executive with Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM), a non-governmen-tal organisation established in 2013.

What is it about rugby that captured your interest?

Rugby is a men's game. It's a tough sport that involves a lot of body contact. As rugby players do not wear protective gear, we also get injured easily when we hit our opponents.

What kind of training do you and your team undergo?

We have light and heavy team training sessions. Light training would be Rugby Touch and heavier training would include Rugby Drill, Formation and Tactical.

Do rugby players undergo body building training and eat a special diet?

Yes. Aside from training with the team, I also work out at the gym five days a week and maintain a diet that's high in protein. We also eat a lot of white meat.

Does rugby practice interfere with your job?

Over the years, I have learnt to compartmentalise personal and work life. I have no problems doing heavy training on weekends.

How does your background in hotel management apply to your present job?
What benefits me most in my current job is customer relations as I am required to meet and interact with people.

What does YPNM do to inculcate and enhance the spirit of patriotism?

At YPNM, we try to inspire the spirit of patriotism among all Malaysians, especially Gen Y and I noticed that, in general, Gen Y seems lacking in patriotism.

We work with schools and colleges and one of our success stories is a recent collaboration with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to encourage and inspire patriotism as a course subject.

We are also involved with events that help boost the idea of patriotism such as Piala Patriot (a futsal tournament). We had over 10,000 participants aged 15 to 45, who come from all the various states.

With rugby and your job, how do you find time for family and are you married?

I will always have time for my family. No matter whether it's day or night, I will be there when they need me. I'm currently single… and looking.