Laureus legends tackle youth mental health ahead of Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

Laureus Sport for Good landed at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and, ahead of the biggest party in world rugby, sporting legends from the Laureus World Sports Academy today visited Model City Hong Kong – a Laureus initiative mobilising a diverse group of local sport-for-development organisations together to transform the mental health of young people in the city. 
Chris Hoy, Daley Thompson and Li Xiaopeng, who each won gold medals at multiple Olympics in cycling, decathlon, and gymnastics respectively, volunteered their time in support of this innovative programme that is addressing a mental health crisis among children and young people in Hong Kong. Joining them was Laureus Ambassador Wong Kam-po, a track and road cyclist who represented Hong Kong at five Olympic Games. 
Supported by Laureus Sport for Good, the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and the Hong Kong Rugby Union, Model City Hong Kong is an ambitious programme that underlines the lasting value of the partnership between Laureus and this unique event on the global sporting calendar. 
Laureus has been the official charity partner of the Hong Kong Sevens for five years, and this year the relationship included the Hong Kong 10s, which took place over the two days preceding the Sevens event. That partnership has allowed Laureus to fund a diverse roster of projects in the region, part of an established Sport for Good footprint across Asia. 
Since 2020, Laureus has supported Model City Hong Kong. During their visit today, Daley, Chris, Xiaopeng and Wong met with young people from several of the programmes that are mobilised by Model City Hong Kong, across a range of sports. 
These include RunOurCity Foundation, a group which uses distance running to empower young people and develop mental strength; Rugby For Good, an organisation bringing communities together through rugby; InspiringHK Sports Foundation that builds better youths through various different sports and RUN Hong Kong, a project using sport and education to support refugees in building a life with safety and dignity. 
Now they are heading to the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium for the three-day festival that is the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, a unique blend of fast-paced rugby and non-stop entertainment that is the centre-piece of the city’s sporting calendar. 
Laureus Academy Member Chris Hoy, said: “Laureus Sport for Good is incredibly proud of its long-running partnership with the Hong Kong Rugby Union and the Hong Kong Sevens, which has allowed us to support projects that are changing the lives of young people in the region. We got to see that work close-up at Model City Hong Kong and in a week that is all about the colour and excitement of this event, it was a reminder that this work never stops. Supporting young people with their mental health is incredibly beneficial in the long-term – it not only improves their lives immediately, but it gives them tools they can use for the rest of their lives. And sport should be a big part of that.”
Laureus Academy Member Daley Thompson, said: “Hong Kong is not alone in facing a huge challenge around youth mental health. We know sport has the power to change lives and it was fantastic to see so many different projects that are making a difference thanks to the partnership between Laureus Sport for Good and the Hong Kong Rugby Union. The Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is one of my favourite events on the sporting calendar and it’s the perfect place to talk about the way sport can make a difference to mental health. It’s hard to find anyone in the Hong Kong Stadium this weekend who doesn’t leave with a big smile on their face.”

Laureus Academy Member Li Xiaopeng, said: “Days like today are the reason I’m proud to be associated with Laureus. The organisations involved in Model City Hong Kong are both innovative and inspirational, collaborating to use the power of sport to address the serious youth mental health crisis here in the city. Working together, we can always achieve more. That is clear to see from charity partnership between Laureus Sport for Good and the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and that was clear to see from the programme visit today.” 
Laureus Ambassador Wong Kam-po, said: “The Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is the sporting highlight for this city every year and it’s so important for us as Ambassadors for Laureus to use this time, when the entire world is watching, to show the power that sport can have to improve the mental health of our young people. The experience of this generation is so different from that shared by us as athletes – from changes in technology to the pandemic. But sport has always had the power to lift the spirit, to bring us together and to empower us. That’s a message we have to share with the world.” 
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, Robbie McRobbie, said: “Every year at this time we welcome the world of rugby to Hong Kong for a celebration not just of our sport, but of our community. The young people of the city and of the region represent the future of that community and the youth mental health crisis that is happening here and across the world affects us all. We believe in Sport for Good and we know that our partnership with Laureus has made, and will continue to make, a real difference in the lives of these young people.” 
Laureus Sport for Good first began its work in Hong Kong in 2005 and is committed to supporting sport for development across Asia as part of its mission to user the power of sport to change the world. Since its inception in 2000, it has positively impacted the lives of more than six and a half million children and young people. Today it supports more than 275 programmes in over 50 countries and territories across the globe.

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