The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has teamed up with Laureus Sport for Good as its official charity partner, a move which will allow Laureus to significantly enhance its work among young people in Asia.
The announcement, made during this year’s event, was welcomed by Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick. The former All Blacks captain said: “The Hong Kong Sevens is one of Asia’s leading sporting events and I am delighted that Laureus is going to have an even closer relationship in the future.
“Asia is becoming an ever more important region for Laureus and this fantastic new charity partnership, alongside others such as Just Challenge, will enable Laureus to support many more programmes throughout Hong Kong and Asia.”
Fitzpatrick announced that Laureus would initially be supporting three new projects: two in Hong Kong and one in Vietnam. These projects are Inspiring Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation’s Deaf Rugby Programme and Childfund Pass It Back Vietnam.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU), which stages the Sevens, is active in its own right, supporting numerous local charity and community programmes. HKRU anticipates that more than HK$1 million will be raised during the Sevens weekend through a variety of initiatives such as donations, messages on the stadium screen and sale of prints and memorabilia.
Among the legendary rugby names who have signed prints are Laureus Academy Members Sean Fitzpatrick, Brian O’Driscoll, Morné du Plessis and Hugo Porta and Laureus Ambassador Jean de Villiers.
Sean Fitzpatrick added: “This partnership will enable Laureus-supported programmes throughout the region to continue working towards their goal of using sport to help end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.
“I would like to thank the Friends of Asia charity and the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, for this fantastic opportunity. We are very much looking forward to working closely with these organisations as we continue to build our footprint in Hong Kong and Asia.”
Laureus currently supports 18 organisations in 12 Asian countries, including the long-established Operation Breakthrough project in Hong Kong, and more than 100 projects globally.
The benefits of the global network created by Laureus was demonstrated during Sevens week when young rugby players from the Cool Play project in South Africa travelled to Hong Kong to meet their peers from Operation Breakthrough, using the power of sport to build friendships and share experiences. Morné du Plessis and Jean de Villiers, both former South African rugby captains, spent time with the young players.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation was established in 2013 and since then has lead the way in the area of “sport-for-change” in the Hong Kong community. Foundation programmes use sport as a medium to tackle social problems and effect change, focusing on the areas of social inclusion, health, disability, education and youth crime.