Sports

Health & Environment

Hong Kong Sevens rolls out reusable pint cup initiative to combat plastic waste

The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) is set to introduce 250,000 reusable pint cups as part of its sixth annual "Green Rugby" campaign, with an aim to cut down on single-plastic use at this year’s Rugby Sevens tournament. According to the HKRU, around 200 tonnes of waste was produced at the three-day mega-event amongst the 120,000 spectator in attendance in 2013, but the number was down by 100 tonnes as of 2016. This year, patrons would be asked for a HK$10 deposit paid either through cash or Octopus card for a reusable stack cup produced from fully-recycled plastic, which would be subsequently assembled, cleaned, and sanitized for reuse by local social enterprise BottLess over the course of the game and other non-rugby events, according to the HKRU. The Green Rugby is focused on providing not just a green campaign, but to also aim to work with local companies like Diwash to handle all of their dishware cleaning. Aside from working with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Leisure and Cultural Department (LCSD), as well as large mainstream beverage suppliers like Carlsberg and Swire Coco-Cola Hong Kong, the HKRU has also partnered with local sustainability consultancy The Purpose Business to streamline and monitor the operation of the campaign. Dr. Merrin Pearse represents The Purpose Business based in Hong Kong and the Philippines. One of their main aims is to  reduce waste at the Sevens in 2019. "This Green campaign is the 6th year running, every year we aim to do something more," said Dr. Pearse. In previous years, the Green Rugby campaign has tackled food waste and eliminated plastic straws. This year was the first year it aimed to eliminate single-use plastic. In 2018, 61 tonnes of general refuse was collected from the event, marking a 48% of reduction from 2017. …

Percentage charge in handling fees for Sevens’ tickets on official sale platforms varies

  • 2019-04-05
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vanessa Yung、Anna Kam、Hailey ManEdited by: Phoebe Lai、Yetta Lam
  • 2019-04-05

It’s advertised as "where the world comes to play" by sponsors. This weekend, tens of thousands of rugby fans from around the world will cheer their teams at the annual on Hong Kong Rugby Sevens at Hong Kong stadium. According to the Rugby Union’s audit report, income from "entry and admission fees" raked in $1.3 million Hong Kong dollars. The finals on Sunday usually draw the largest number of spectators every year and tickets for those top team matches are sometimes hard to come by. For years, scalpers would approach fans, typically at Causeway Bay MTR station to offer tickets to those desperate to see the finals. This year, the Hong Kong Rugby Union announced in October 2018, that the tickets were going to remain the same price as last year staying at $1950 for a full three day tournament ticket. Currently, there are no laws in Hong Kong regulating ticket scalping. An online scalper who refused to give his name, claimed that he sold a three-day ticket package for $3600. That’s a 80% markup on the original price. "Few Hong Kong local fans would pay thousands dollars for the Sevens tickets. Buyers are mostly staff from insurance companies who want to offer tickets to their clients, [as a gift]," the anonymous seller explained. According to the Hong Kong Sevens official website, Hong Kong identity card holders can enter a ballot in which tickets would be randomly allocated. Each person can apply for up to two tickets and a total 9,000 tickets would be sold this way. Visitors from overseas can purchase the "Essential Sevens Travel package" from travel agents listed. There are also "hospitality packages" from, for example, Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). One of the travel agents on the website, Keith Prowse Travel, …

Photo Essay

Sevens' Week: Hong Kong Sevens takes off

Sevens' major sponsor Cathay Pacific started showcasing an array of rugby footballs in prints of Hong Kong signature items, such as crispy eggettes and neon street signs during a promotional event at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay last Friday. With less than a week left, the Sevens has been hyping up for the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. Cathay Pacific is holding an exhibition of their featured collection for this year's event, the "Collectaballs". The "Collectaballs" are a series of ten rugby footballs decorated in prints of items that represent Hong Kong. Prints include Hong Kong's common household tile game Mahjong, blue and white prints on porcelain cups used in Hong Kong traditional restaurants, dragon dance costumes seen in Chinese New Year, sweet "pineapple" buns, Cheung Chau's "Ping On" buns, prints on nylon-canvas carrier bags, words in Chinese Kickass font created by Hong Kong designer kit Man and Cathay Pacific Airways' iconic sign can all been seen in ten rugby footballs shown at the shopping mall's entrance. Try out their interactive private preview of the games beside the iconic rugby footballs exhibit. The promotion will be last till April 7th at Hysan Place. Stay tuned to our coverage on other related events coming on the Sevens.

Expanding sports opportunities for youths with disabilities

  • 2019-04-01
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Rachel Yeo、Wallis Wang、Anna Kam、Phoebe Lai、Katherine LiEdited by: Dorothy Ma、Sammi Chan、Vanessa Yung、Nadia Lam
  • 2019-04-01

During a rugby tournament held in Happy Valley, 24-year-old coach Winnie Cheung Wing-yin gathered her team to discuss a variety of strategies to win the match. Crowding together at the side of the field, the members watched intently as Ms. Cheung demonstrated strategies verbally, while also flailing her arms and mimicking ball throwing movements. Standing next to her was an interpreter helping to translate her spoken points through sign language. Ms. Cheung is partially deaf and she's one of the Hong Kong Rugby Union's oldest members and now coaches for the deaf rugby team, which has 20 members. She was one of the first deaf participants to join the deaf rugby programme back in 2009. Back then, she was still a pupil at Chun Tok School, one of the local deaf schools that cooperated with HKRU. Ms. Cheung currently receives funding from Laureus, a sports organisation that honours individuals and teams along with sporting achievements. Her efforts throughout the years have landed her a career to work as a coach and develop the next generation of players for the deaf rugby team. "Deaf rugby has changed me in many ways because I was able to meet more people," said Ms. Cheung. Deaf rugby coach Winnie Cheung strategies how her team members can win a rugby tournament in Happy Valley. She believes that hard work and effort is the key to overcome her adversities. According to the United Nations, engaging in sports has the potential to reduce such barriers as it can showcase an individual's skill sets, which makes others take note of their disabilities less. However, people with disabilities are more likely to face discrimination and negative perceptions in society. Through these stigmas, they may be excluded from opportunities which is vital for their social and physical development, including participating …

Underwater hockey: the "strange sport" comes into view in Hong Kong

  • 2019-03-13

Putting on swimwear, goggles, snorkel and fins, Henry Chan was not going to jump in the ocean, but instead play hockey underwater. Underwater hockey requires a lot of skills, but be good at swimming isn’t the most important. "I swim very fast, but there's no point. The game is thirty minutes. You cannot swim all the way," said Mr. Chan, one of the founders of Hong Kong Underwater Hockey Association. Similar to ice or field hockey, in an underwater hockey game, two teams compete to push a puck with a hockey stick across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal. "For me, the first step that I think difficult is to really get myself calm underwater," Mr. Chan said, "but the most difficult is to have a team mentality to play for team, not only by yourself." Underwater hockey has been around for decades in Canada, England, USA and Australia but has only recently taken off in Asia, mostly in the Philippines and Malaysia. The sport has its own World Championship, which first took place in 1980, according to World Confederation of Underwater Activities. Hong Kong has one team that is trying to compete on an international level. Noel Luis Suarez Ignacio, another founder and the head coach of HKUHA, said breathing was crucial to this sport. "Every time you think your sport is hard, try doing it while holding your breath," he said. "I don't need swimmers, I need singers," Mr. Ignacio said the physically demand when playing underwater is to "stretch lung muscle and increase lung capacity". Mr. Chan has played this special kind of hockey since 12 years ago when he was studying in an university in America, where he failed to find a swimming team but came across an underwater hockey club. …

Running marathon in the dark

  • 2019-02-22

Nearly 3000 runners are limbering up for the Lunar New Year half marathon at Sha Tin Sports Grounds, including over 200 visually impaired athletes. Cheung Chi-pang, a 56-year-old man who lost his sight 20 years ago, has well prepared for the upcoming 21 kilometres long race. "My families are always supportive of my identity as an athlete," he said, "they are so amazed that I can run for such a long distance." Mr. Cheung hardly did exercise until 2009. He still remembers the painful experience when he first gave running a try. Despite running as slow as possible, his atrophied muscles could not bear and the shins were severely inflamed as a result. After leaving the hospital, he strengthened his muscles by picking up exercise gradually under the guidance of coaches. As a member of Blind Sports Hong Kong(BSHK), Mr. Cheung takes part in the training three times a week and has fulfilled 17 full marathon races in the past decade. He considers that making efforts to practice is the most essential skill to run better. "An effective communication with the guide runner is also important, we will have perfect teamwork if we can tacitly understand each other," he added. The younger man standing beside Mr. Cheung is Gary Wong Chi-sun, a policeman of Hong Kong and one of the 300 guide runners of BSHK. It is the second time that they cooperated to run the marathon. He happened to meet visually impaired athletes with special logos on their vests and volunteered to be a guider five years ago. The guide runner shows the orange hand strap that connects the visually impaired runner with him and explains that it helps the athlete to distinguish the direction when running. "This hand strap can also be regarded as the establishment of a relationship," …

The Sky's the limit for Hong Kong Women's Rugby

  • 2019-02-20
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Anna Kam、Maisy MokEdited by: Japson Melanie Jane、Michael Shum
  • 2019-02-20

Hong Kong Women’s Rugby has come a long way since building it from the ground up. Starting from only participating in one Asia tour per year, to debuting at the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland. According to World Rugby, the Hong Kong Women's Rugby team is now ranked 23rd in the world and is the only team lead by a female head coach in the competition. "Hong Kong women’s development has been improved in the last 5 years on an international level and local level," says Chan Leong-Sze Royce, Women's forward’s coach and ex-national player. Hong Kong National Women's 7s team and 15s team has obtained significant achievements in the last couple of years. Hong Kong Sports Institution (HKSI) has funded the Women's 7s team as a full-time training squad in 2013. "10 years ago we have one tour per year. Players train six weeks before one tour, and after the tour, you dismiss and go back to your class, and train with your coach." said Christy Cheng, Captain of National 7s team. Now, the Hong Kong 7s program has since become Cheng's full-time job. However, there are still players from the 15s team who has to work for a nine to five job besides playing for the National. Cheng hopes that the media can give more exposure to the women's rugby scene, hence benefits more players to be contracted and get resources that are required to focus solely on sports. "The 15s team has also been significant in terms of development, where in the past, there was probably only one team for Hong Kong, whereas now we can talent seek and build two teams that are contenders on the international level," said Jo Hull, Hong Kong National Women's Rugby Head Coach, at the open training which - …

The New Kick-off : Live sports and VR

  • 2019-01-21

20-year-old football fanatic, Tse Pak-hoi Tonny, had anticipated the VR live football match streaming experience for long, which eventually happened in the 2018 Russia World Cup last Summer. It was the first time ever immersive technology kicked into the field of football. Last Summer, the 2018 World Cup worked with Oculus, a US-based VR technology company, to offer VR live-streaming of matches through Oculus Go, the company's own VR  headset goggles. Fox sports live-streamed four World Cup matches for free on Oculus Venue, while BBC Sports VR app broadcasted 33 live matches. The most ambitious of all went to Spanish company, Telemundo Deportes VR, which covered 64 live World Cup matches with paid TV subscriptions. As an experienced viewer who watches local and international live football matches four to five times each month both on TV and at scene, Mr. Tse explained he felt clueless and confused after having his first trial with a short 360 video of Madrid versus Juventus in the 2017 Champions League Final from Fox Soccer online. "The very first thing that I immediately knew when the game started was I did not know what to focus on. There were too many things happening around," said Mr. Tse. Chief operating officer of VR Educate, Ko Ping-yeung, explained the VR experience of a live-streamed sports game is different from what usual VR experience can offer because the nature of sports games viewing and playing video games are different. "You cannot think of them as the same thing. In VR videos and gameplays, they choreographed animated characters with a fictional plot, which users are guaranteed to experience interactions. However, I guess for live sports, there is probably not much you can do beforehand except making sure you have the equipment you need to make things as real as …

Real Madrid soccer training school – A dream for young talents

  • 2018-06-04

Real Madrid defeated Liverpool in last Saturday's UEFA Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine. The Spanish division A team has won the crown 13 times in 63 years, and Liverpool only five times. This was the second time the two teams met in the European Cup Final in 37 years. Might Real Madrid's change in its strategy on team building explain its success in recent years? Before 2007, Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid, used Galácticos to boost the league's performance. That is, they built the teams with superstar players hired from all over the world. Critics said the commercial approach drew attention but failed to prepare players, leading to unsatisfactory league results. The departure of David Beckham marked the end of the Galácticos era. Since 2007, Real Madrid has put its focus on nurturing young talents. That's reflected in its multi-million investment in Ciudad de Real Madrid, the world's largest soccer training school. Located in Valdebebas Park in Madrid, the school covers an area of 1,200,000 square metres, including dressing rooms, gymnasiums, classrooms, conference rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and medical centres. There are 10 grass football pitches with a capacity for more than 11,000 spectators. According to a spokesman for the school, more than 3,000 boys from across the European Union vie for a position at Ciudad de Real Madrid every year. The youngest is only six years old. Most of them are from across Spain since parents from outside the country are unlikely to be able to accompany their children in the Spanish capital during their training. It is many boy's dreams to get into Real Madrid but not everyone has the chance to make their dreams come true. "Of the 3,000 boys who apply to the school, only 44 are selected every year," he said. The …

Death in the afternoon in Madrid

  • 2018-05-24
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Nadia Lam、Erin ChanEdited by: Holly Chik、Angie Chan、Michelle Ng
  • 2018-05-24

There are many styles of bullfighting around the world, but in Spain, death is inevitable for the beast. At around 6:30 p.m on a Sunday evening, about 20,000 people packed into Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, a bullfighting ring in Madrid. Music started blaring from speakers around the circular spectator stands. A lone bull entered the arena. It stood quietly at the centre, seemingly at a loss. Several men then joined the beast in the ring, waving pieces of red cape known as muleta. The waving enraged the animal and soon it charged and rushed at the moving fabric. In came the matador, mounted on the back of a white horse. With a lance in his right hand, the matador started to irritate the bull by chasing it around the arena. The horse galloped to avoid being jabbed by the bull's fierce horns and after minutes of this teasing and dancing, the matador then stabbed the bull with the spear. This was just the start of the bull's suffering. The process continued until five of six lances had pierced the back of the bull's neck. It continued to charge as blood oozed from its wounds. The agony came with one sharp jab of a sword vertically into the top of its spine. The bull fell. The audience cheered and waved pieces of white cloth to show their appreciation towards the bullfighter. That was round one. The next bull, equally confused as the first then came into the ring. Its only defence against the matador's provocation was its horns. During one of the rounds, the bull simply would not be provoked. It escaped and ran into the aisle between the spectators' area and the arena, which raised a clamour among the audience. The matadors didn't give up and after the …