The excitement surrounding the debut of Rugby Sevens as an exhibition sport in the upcoming Hong Kong Games has just jumped a level with the announcement that the winning men’s and women’s teams will be rewarded with funding support for a tour to New York under the Leisure & Cultural Services Department’s “Funding Scheme for Youth Sports Exchange”. The highlight of the trip will be participation in the Hell Gate Sevens Tournament, which is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in New York (HKETONY), and organized by the Village Lions Rugby Club whose President is former Hong Kong resident Rich Gallina. In addition the players will be hosted at a function at the HKETONY offices, meet members of the Hong Kong Association of New York, and take in the cultural and historic highlights of one of the world’s most iconic cities.
“This is an amazing opportunity,” noted the HKRU’s General Manager of Community Rugby Brandon Huang, “There has already been a steady build-up of interest in the Hong Kong Games rugby competition, but with the added prize of a once-in-a-lifetime visit to New York, we’re expecting a real buzz around the practice pitches over the next month!” Each of Hong Kong’s 18 Districts will be entering teams, with the men’s competition taking place at King’s Park Sports Ground on Saturday 30th April and the women’s at the same venue on Monday 1st May, a public holiday. This will be the first appearance of rugby in the Games, which is held every 2 years and features 8 different sports events, and the hope is that a good showing this year could lead to an official slot for Sevens in the 2019 Games.
“We are delighted to have been included as an exhibition sport for 2017,” explained Huang, “and this is very much the result of the wonderful support of our friends in the District Sports Associations who have backed our efforts over the past few years. Sevens is now an officially recognized sport by the Hong Kong School Sports Federation, the University Sports Federation, and of course we remain the only team sport with full elite status at the Hong Kong Sports Institute – participation in the Hong Kong Games is another major milestone for the game, and we’d like to thank the Games Committee for offering us this opportunity.”
The District teams are busy with preparations, but it’s not too late to get involved – anyone can try out for their area of residence, providing they have a valid HK ID card and have been resident here for a minimum of 3 years.
Registration form is here