Laureus Sport for Good Programme and HKRU Community Foundation look raise over $1m from 2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens campaign
For the first time in its 43-year history, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has an official charity partner, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
The pairing is entirely fitting considering that the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is a leading global charity that works to improve the lives of young people around the world through the power of sport.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) is active in its own right, supporting numerous local charity and community sporting programmes via the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation (HKRUCF), which has disbursed over HK$8 million in the community since 2013.
Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, commented on the partnership saying: “The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is the flagship tournament on the rugby sevens circuit and one of Asia’s leading sporting events. This new and exciting 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.”
The teamwork around this year’s campaign is paying off with the HKRU anticipating over HK$1 million will be raised, including from donations collected at the Hong Kong Sevens Long Lunch, from fees for placing messages on the diamond vision screen at the Hong Kong Stadium during tournament weekend and numerous other initiatives including the sales of collectable Hong Kong Sevens prints.
The artwork has been signed by some of the greatest names in world rugby, all of whom are current Laureus Academy members and Ambassadors, including Sean Fitzpatrick, Morne du Plessis, Jean de Villiers, Hugo Porta and Brian O'Driscoll.The original signed print will be auctioned to raise funds while a limited edition of 200 reprints are being sold to the public at HK$999 each.
The funds raised will be split between Laureus-supported projects in Hong Kong and new applicants from charities around Asia. Laureus currently supports 18 organisations in 12 Asian countries, and more than 100 projects globally.
Also supporting this year’s campaign are Friends of Asia Hong Kong, whose mission is to inspire and provide resources to disadvantaged children and youth by donating and matching funds to develop important programmes and events within the context of sports, education, health and wellness.
Friends of Asia Hong Kong have donated HK$150,000 to the HKRU Community Foundation’s “Deaf Rugby” programme, which will be matched by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
They are also extending their support to local charity Operation Breakthrough through an especially meaningful campaign, “Tries for Friends”.The charity will donate HK$5,000 for every try scored by any of the three young men who have come through the Breakthrough programme and are now in the Hong Kong national sevens squad - Fong Kit-fung, Chong Shun-hong and Mak Kwai-chung. Women’s sevens captain Christy Cheng, who has been an Operation Breakthrough volunteer for many years, is also joining in the campaign to represent the women’s team.
The tries must be scored while the players are on international duty for Hong Kong at any time over the coming 12 months.
John Chiu, Director of Friends of Asia Hong Kong, said; ““We are honoured to partner with the HKRU this year, using the Sevens to promote total wellness among our young people through a wide range of sports - not only the likes of tennis, golf and swimming, but now rugby as well.
“It is our belief that while academic learning is important, sports and recreation are equally important. We hope through the Deaf Rugby programme that more youth will be inspired by the outstanding performance of the deaf players, and we take this opportunity to wish the team another fun and successful year.
“We also look forward to cheering for our promising players from Operation Breakthrough when they represent Hong Kong, scoring tries and raising money for a great cause.”
Other confirmed local recipients of the funds raised over the event are the InspiringHK Sports Foundation, who use sport to promote social mobility, gender equality, social inclusion and healthy lifestyles, and Child Fund, the charity behind “Pass it Back”, the innovative Asian rugby programme that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for young people in disadvantaged communities across the region.
In what is the most visible symbol of this fruitful and inspirational partnership, the partnership has united youth from the Laureus funded “Cool Play” project in South Africa with their peers from Operation Breakthrough this week, utilising the power of sport to build friendships that bridge all divides. Laureus Academy Member Morne du Plessis and Ambassador Jean de Villiers, both former South African rugby captains, have joined the players this week.
Prior to Saturday’s March Past in the Stadium, Mr Fitzpatrick will make a special presentation to HKRU President Mr Peter Duncan, to mark the partnership between the HKRU and Laureus Sport For Good, as the official charity of the Hong Kong Sevens.Mr Fitzpatrick will present Mr Duncan with a specially commissioned artwork featuring all of the Laureus rugby legends.