Jonatan Dam in action

As their wheelchair side prepare for their debut in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, and more youngsters are playing the sport in the country, Norge Rugby League has elected a new president.

Full-time student Jonatan Dam, a player for Sandnes Raiders since 2017, has taken the reins from Karl-Fredrik Sandelin Velle, who helped establish the sport in the country.

Twenty-three year old Dam, who is studying for a BSc in physiotherapy as well as running his own business as an online coach making strength programmes for athletes, found rugby league by accident. “It was pure coincidence – having seen a Facebook ad, I was hooked,” he said on acceptance of the role.

“The passion quickly blossomed and I have been heavily involved with the club and sport ever since, both as a player and a coach. In 2019 I completed a level 1 coaching course and helped start up the Raider’s junior team, being one of the first clubs in the country to start such a development path. I stayed on as one of the head coaches until my move to Oslo this summer.

“This sport is filled with incredible individuals who continue to give back. It is this spirit I want to take into my presidency and hopefully be able to continue developing domestic rugby league to a point where everyone can experience its comradery. The key to this is to create a solid foundation for kids’ and youth teams in Norway.”

Dam added: “Karl-Frederik has done a magnificent job to get us to where we are, on the verge of competing in a World Cup, that is amazing. I am confident that with the number of passionate individuals in this sport, we can continue to develop and grow rugby league in Norway.”

“The beauty of rugby league is that there is no other sport as inclusive. It does not matter what background you have or what shape or size you are. if you are willing to work for your teammates, then there is room for you.”