“Firmly established as the world’s premier event of its kind and one of the most popular annual sporting events in Asia, the Hong Kong Sevens attracts some of the world’s greatest rugby players and thousands of fans from every corner of the globe to the magnificent Hong Kong Stadium every year”.
The Hong Kong Sevens tournament was one of the first of its kind. Traditional rugby is played with 15 players on each team playing 40 minute halves, but this unique 7-on-7 tournament became one of the first to have corporate sponsors, which drew the attention of some of the world’s best athletes. By the late 70’s the tournament had grown not only in popularity with the local fans, but also with the players as well, boasting the friendliest atmosphere and most sportsmanlike competitors in the world. This event has become a transformative experience for both fans and athletes alike, giving birth (in some cases literally) to new opportunities and connections between visitors.
In 1976, a group of rugby enthusiasts, a tobacco company, and a commercial airline walked into a bar. Not really. What they did was come together to host the first annual Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament. This three-day tournament has quietly become one of the largest rugby events in the world, hosting an estimated 120,000 people last year!
To some people sports are simply a form of entertainment. For most of us it can be used as an outlet for our creativity and passion, and more importantly a chance to bring people together. Since its humble beginnings as an event to increase popularity of rugby in Asia, the Hong Kong Sevens has transformed into a multicultural celebration of sports and competition.
This year the festival will start with the Women’s Seven Series qualifier in which twelve teams will fight it out for an opportunity to play in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. They’ve recently added a youth tournament where teams from all over the world battle for the under 18 title, as well as a chance to meet some of the most famous players in the world. Daily activities range from watching the 6-12 year old pregame matches to attending viewing parties at the “Sevens Village” at the Indian Recreation Club. The South Stand of the arena has become the epicenter for fans wanting to dress up in their favorite costumes, cheer on the athletes, and even dance for entire matches.
The Sevens have been not only a place for new friendships, but also romance. In the South China Morning Post, New York rugby correspondent Chris Kaufman is quoted as saying “Through yawns and grumbles, when we got to Victoria Park, there before me stood the person who was to become the love of my life.” Chris met his wife standing in line for passes to the Sevens in 1993 after waking up before dawn to make sure he could get tickets to the event.
Lola McLaughlin, a former player on the 1997 women’s Arabian Gulf team, met her husband after being asked to stay in Hong Kong after the event and help teach rugby. In case you were thinking this was just a coincidence, she has been quoted in the South China Morning Post saying “I can attribute my career on and off the pitch to the Sevens, my marriage, and also, indirectly, the birth of our daughter, now eight.”
The Gay Games originated in San Francisco in 1982 and has become the world’s largest LGBT sporting and cultural event. The Gay Games have been hosted all over the world including Germany, Australia, and The Netherlands. The upcoming games will be held in Paris in 2018. Led by LGBT athletes, artists, and musicians the festival covers 3 themes: sports, arts & culture, and academic conference. Much like the Hong Kong Sevens the Gay Games are open to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, skill, or age.
Gay Games Hong Kong 2022 will be an empowering experience for all – anyone can participate- regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origins, or HIV status- and let their passion for sports bloom without fear of being judged or stigmatized. Show your support by following #GGHK2022 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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