x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rugby memorial for tragic schoolboy

School holds rugby cup competition to remember Anton

DUBAI // Students of The English College Dubai have organised a rugby match this weekend in memory of a schoolmate who died last year.

Friends of Anton Tahmasian, 16, who died at a graduation party last June, will come together on Saturday for the first Anton Cup dedicated to the teenager, whose passion was rugby.

"The game is something people associate my brother with," Karmen Tahmasian, his sister, said. "It was Anton's number one sport and he might have wanted to pursue it as a career later on as well."

The memorial match will kick off in the morning on the grounds of The English College, with 10 rugby teams from different schools and clubs vying for the cup.

Proceeds from the event, raised by player registration fees and through a small fair at the venue, would benefit two charities, Anton's mother, Helen Tahmasian, said. The family will be supporting the Borneo Child Aid Society and the Orang-utan Sanctuary in Malaysia.

"The children want this to be an annual charity event," Mrs Tahmasian said. "We are trying to get a few companies to support us, so that we can have a sale from which the amount raised can be given to these charities."

Charles Richardson, a friend of Anton, said he began planning the match with Karmen in January.

"He is missed in school," Charles said. "And we thought combining a sport he loves along with raising funds for charities he supported was the best way to remember him."

Charles, who is in Year 12, said Anton had spoken about his wish to visit the charities in Malaysia.

Anton had many friends from other schools and rugby circles, and Mrs Tahmasian said they expected about 140 people to attend.

"My son impacted a lot of people here," she said. "Some of his friends who had left for England earlier will also be down for the match."

The school's headmaster, Alan Forbes, said: "The students want to remember Anton in a certain way and this match is a fantastic way to celebrate his life and the great contribution he made to the school.

"It is a wonderful opportunity to pull the community, his friends and family together."

aahmed@thenational.ae