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HKETONY to present Hell Gate Sevens for first time (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (HKETONY) has announced its inaugural partnership with the Village Lions Rugby Football Club and its title sponsorship of the Hell Gate Sevens Tournament on July 9 (Saturday).

     The Hell Gate Sevens was launched in 2009 and regularly attracts more than 1 000 athletes, coaches and fans from the East Coast. Teams will compete on five pitches, including the designated Hong Kong Field on Randall's Island in New York. The tournament will use for the first time districts and MTR station names in Hong Kong, totalling 25, for their pool names.

     "This is an exciting time for rugby fans and players all over the world, as the sport makes a triumphant return to the Olympics in August," the Director of the HKETONY, Mr Steve Barclay, said at a press conference today (June 28, New York time).

     "My office is delighted to sponsor the Hell Gate Sevens Tournament, riding on the world-renowned fame of Hong Kong as the home of rugby sevens for over 40 years," he said. The HKETONY recently sponsored the Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia earlier this month, as well as the New York Sevens tournament in the Thanksgiving weekend last year.

     The other three speakers at the press conference, Co-Chair of Hell Gate Sevens Mr Nigel Riley and rugby athletes Miss Gissela Van and Mr Hubert Chan, recalled their fond memories of Hong Kong.

     Mr Riley said he was pleased to see the changes that have been brought about by the partnership with the HKETONY, namely the increased number of teams, improved branding and the creation of a real buzz, which are well on the way to setting a new standard for tournaments in New York rugby.

     Mr Riley has played rugby for clubs around the world, including in Hong Kong. He spent five seasons playing for the Hong Kong Cricket Club, and captained two winning sides at the season-ending Grand Championships in 2011 and 2013.

     Miss Van, whose parents are from Hong Kong, grew up in Hong Kong and Shanghai. She has been playing rugby since her sophomore year of high school. She joined the Village Lions in 2015.

     Mr Chan was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to the US in 2006. He won the Hong Kong Inter-school C-Grade championship in 2004. He has been playing for the Village Lions in their seven- and 15-a-side teams.

     Information regarding the 2016 Hell Gate Sevens can be obtained at the dedicated tournament website

Ends/Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:30


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