Hong Kong sports official Karl C. Kwok
IOC backs a winner in rugby sevens
10 Mar 2010
There is no doubt that the spectacular success of the annual Hong Kong rugby sevens competition played a major role in the inclusion of the sport for the 2016 Olympic Games. Hong Kong sports official Karl C. Kwok has witnessed first-hand the rise and rise of the sevens, and feels sure that the International Olympic Committee has backed a winner by selecting the fast and flowing game for Rio de Janeiro.
“The Olympic Games have this special kind of magic, and the hosting nation will put in a lot of effort to make sure everything works,” Kwok said at the draw for the 2010 Hong Kong Sevens recently.
“It will be a new item, a new event, and I am pretty sure they will have a sizeable share of audience for the rugby sevens in Brazil.”
The Hong Kong Sevens, which is sponsored by Cathay Pacific and Credit Suisse, was first held in 1976 and has become one of the major events in the former British territory and on the international rugby calendar.
“In Hong Kong it is one of the homegrown events that has been with us for so long,” added Kwok, Vice President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.
“It brings in 40,000 fans from all over the world, mainly from Hong Kong, of course, and they have a great celebration for three days. It has been part of Hong Kong for many years now and people like it.
“In the 2016 Olympics people will take an interest in it. It is such a quick game and you can watch many games within a day, so I think it should draw a big crowd, especially in Brazil where they are used to team events, especially football.
“I am pretty sure it will work – and it will also show the Brazilians that other than using your foot you can use your hand to play the ball!”
This year’s Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Sevens will take place at Hong Kong Stadium from March 26-28. It involves 24 teams and is part of the International Rugby Board’s Sevens World Series.