They have set world records, won Olympic gold medals and lifted the Rugby World Cup, and today an illustrious group of Laureus Academy Members and Ambassadors joined together to celebrate Laureus’ charity partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union, ahead of this weekend’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Laureus Sport for Good became the first ever official charity partner of the Hong Kong Sevens in 2018 and the ongoing support of this incredible event is helping Laureus to improve the lives of children and young people.
In partnership with HKRU, funds raised at this year’s event will help support Laureus Sport for Good’s work both in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, and the partnership has already raised $1,135,000 HKD to date.
In Hong Kong to help support the partnership were track and field legend Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Li Xiaopeng and Rugby World Cup winners Bryan Habana and Nolli Waterman, along with Hong Kong Laureus Ambassadors Lee Ying Shih Vivian and Daniel Lee Chi Wo.
The Laureus legends visited the Sevens Central fan activation zone in Hong Kong to engage with young female rugby players from the Laureus-supported Childfund Pass it Back programme from Laos and Vietnam, along with local sport for development organisations Operation Breakthrough, InspiringHK and Deaf Rugby. The interaction between the sporting legends and programme participants was a powerful demonstration of using sport as a driving force to enhance the lives of children and young people.
Funds raised throughout Sevens week in Hong Kong will also help support the development of Model City Hong Kong, a pioneering initiative that will focus on using sport as a tool to support mental health and well-being.
Laureus Sport for Good will also benefit from a new initiative as part of the HKRU’s Green Sevens campaign, which will see the introduction of a reusable cup made from fully recycled plastic inside the stadium. Sevens fans can donate their $10 deposit for the reusable cup to Laureus and the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation by placing their reusable cup in the ‘cup for charity’ barrels at the end of each day.
Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson, said: “We are so thankful for the generous support we have received from the Hong Kong Rugby Union over the years, and specifically since 2018 in our role as charity partner of this special event.
“I have learnt about the issues facing young people in Hong Kong, specifically around mental health awareness and support. Through the long-term engagement of the Model City Hong Kong programme, we want to help community organisations in the area make a real difference to the lives of young people. For me, that’s what sport is all about.”
Laureus Academy Member Li Xiaopeng, said: “As a resident of Hong Kong, I’m aware of the challenges and issues young people here face. Our long-term partnership with the Hong Kong Sevens enables us to support organisations who are doing such an incredible job in tackling these issues head-on."
“As Academy Members, we are passionate about Laureus Sport for Good, and after spending time with the young people from Pass it Back, Operation Breakthrough, InspiringHK and Deaf Rugby, it’s clear to me that sport really can help enhance the lives of young people in Hong Kong and beyond.”
Robbie McRobbie, CEO of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, said: “We are passionate believers in the power of sport to bring lasting change to young people’s lives. The long standing relationship with Laureus Sport for Good and our own Hong Kong Rugby Union Charity is a natural partnership in shared values. I am excited that the HKRU will be working alongside Laureus to help bring its Model City research and intervention to Hong Kong. Children and young people growing up today face intense pressure from many sources not only in Hong Kong but globally, Model City Hong Kong’s emphasis on helping support mental health and well-being through sport will provide another resource in addressing this particular challenge to young people in Hong Kong.”