Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton visits the charity sports project in Hong Kong that is helping reduce crime and get more children back in school.
July 28, 2013
Look at the world’s great football clubs this summer and you’ll see they have something in common.
Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester United are all visiting their passionate fans in countries across the Far East; drawing them closer to the club and making sure they feel as much a part of the team as fans closer to home.
It’s this sense of teamwork and coming together that Laureus Academy Member Bobby Charlton experienced as he visited a charity sports project in Hong Kong during Manchester United’s tour of the area.
Bobby was at Operation Breakthrough, a Laureus-supported project offering sports such as football, judo, rugby and boxing to help change the lives of youngsters who have been arrested for minor crimes or identified as at risk of doing so.
Bobby said: “Since I’ve been here I have seen so many young people who’ve had trouble in the past, but coming to this project has really turned the corner for them. Some of them were on the wrong track and were struggling to make their mark before they came here. I enjoyed chatting to them and they listened really carefully. I found it an absolute pleasure.”
One of the highlights of the visit was the presentation by Bobby of a special certificate to Sures Gurung, who has been involved with both Operation Breakthrough boxing and rugby programmes. Supported financially by the project, Sures last year had his first professional fight, which he won, despite a broken nose.
The award marked the completion of Sures’ university degree. He said: “I could never have achieved success both as a sportsman and also with my studies without the support and encouragement of Operation Breakthrough and Laureus. Knowing that legends like Sir Bobby are on your team really boosts your confidence and gives you a lift."
Sures is just one of 2000 young people who have benefitted from being a part of the Operation Breakthrough team.
By teaching teamwork’s importance in life, along with trust, respect for others and discipline, the project is seeing their work achieve reduced re-offending rates. There is also evidence of increased school attendance and greater integration into society.
Barry Smith, Senior Superintendent of Hong Kong Police said: "I would like to thank Sir Bobby and Laureus for their generous support of Operation Breakthrough. When we started 17 years ago with a few kids and a pair of boxing gloves on the roof of Tai Hing Police Station we never dreamed of how Breakthrough would grow, and how many youngsters' lives would be touched by the programme. Whilst much about Breakthrough has changed over the years, our fundamental belief remains constant - young people are not the cause of problems in society, they are the solution. We look forward to the next chapter in the Breakthrough journey, with Laureus by our side."