Ice Hockey 5s Fast and Furious

The action will be fast and furious at the Ice Hockey 5s, now in it’s twenty third year and celebrating it’s tenth anniversary at MegaBox. Over 1,600 players from nearly 90 teams and 14 countries will be participating in the frenetic action.

The original 5s tournament began in 1994, when due to the size of the available ice-rinks the number of players per team was reduced from the traditional 6 to 5, hence its name. The MegaBox ice rink is of international size and the tournament reverted to 6 player teams in 2008.

This year’s Youth Division tournament takes place 24-29 April while the Adults are skates down from 1-6 May with the finals streamed live on youtube for those who can’t make it to Kowloon Bay.

Ice Hockey 5s
Date: 1-6 May, 2017
Venue: Mega Ice
Tickets: tbc

Photo: Ice Hockey 5s

Bayer Leverkusen, Leicester City, Olympique Marseille at Soccer Sevens

Defending Soccer Sevens champions Aston Villa will face German newcomers Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23 and competition regulars Singapore Cricket Club in an intriguing looking Group C after the draw for the May 26-28 tournament took place at Hong Kong Football Club on Tuesday.

Villa defeated West Ham United 2-0 in last year’s final to lift the trophy for a record sixth time having last been victorious in 2010. And the holders’ match against Leverkusen – the first side from Germany to compete in the tournament – promises to be one of the most interesting of the group stage.

We knew it was going to be exciting with the new teams coming in,” said Soccer Sevens Tournament Director Chris Plowman. Leverkusen are one of three debutants from Europe, with Olympique Marseille and Cagliari Calcio becoming the first teams from France and Italy respectively to feature as the tournament increases it’s international flavour.

In 2015, Atletico Madrid became the first Spanish side to appear at the tournament as they made their debut in style by lifting the Cup following a thrilling 3-2 win over West Ham after extra-time in the final.

Marseille have been drawn in Group D alongside 2015 and 2016 runners-up West Ham. Hong Kong Premier League side and 2011 winners Kitchee along with Yau Yee League Select, who represent the local amateur league complete the group.

Cagliari are in Group A, where they will meet 2009 and 2010 runners-up Glasgow Rangers, who return after a two-year absence. South Korea’s FC Seoul, who reached the semi-final on their debut, and Hong Kong Football Club make up the group.

We wanted to become more international,” added Plowman. “We were fortunate enough to get Atletico Madrid in 2015 and they were a just a revelation. They played fantastic football and came back in the final from 2-0 down to win. That got us excited and we thought let’s carry that on and go out to more of the European leagues and see if this event will be of interest to them and they all responded positively.”

For local Premier League side and hosts Hong Kong Football Club the group will be a huge test against sides with contrasting styles from all over the world. “It’s a tough draw, but we’re looking to [get through] and play in the Main tournament,” said HKFC captain Andrew Wylde

It’s good fun, but it’s going to be tough. You get close to them and they’ll spin you, you give them time and they’ll turn at you. The fitness is one thing, but it’s the ability to stick with them with their quality.”

English Premier League Champions Leicester – winners of the Shield last year – have been paired with 2016 semi-finalists Wellington Phoenix, Japan’s Kashima Antlers and HKFC Captain’s Select. The match-up with Wellington marks a repeat of last year’s quarter-final in which the A-League side from New Zealand ran out 2-1 winners over the English side.

In the Masters tournament, holders Citi All Stars, who won the competition for the first-time last year after beating local side USRC 3-1 in the final, have been drawn in Group A alongside Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay and last year’s beaten finalists.

In Group B, Playon Pros – who will bring with them an exciting line-up of former English Premier League players, have been paired with Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select and Yau Yee League Masters.

The format is great because there’s always lots of action on the pitch and the games are relatively short,” added Hong Kong Football Association Chief Executive Mark Sutcliffe. There’s a lot of space on the pitch for people to exploit so it’s a very exciting format. There are some fantastic teams and big names, so this is a great opportunity for some of our players to test themselves against players from other countries.”

Soccer Sevens 2017

Group A
Cagliari Calcio, Glasgow Rangers, FC Seoul, Hong Kong Football Club

Group B
Leicester City, Wellington Phoenix, Kashima Antlers, HKFC Captain’s Select

Group C
Aston Villa, Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23, Singapore Cricket Club

Group D
Marseille, West Ham, Kitchee, Yau Yee League Select

Masters Tournament

Group A
Citi All Stars, Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay, USRC

Group B
Playon Pros, Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select, Yau Yee League Masters.

Soccer Sevens

Date: 26-28 May, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: $300 (Weekend pass), $160 (Day ticket), Free (Friday night) from Ticketflap
More info:
26 May (Fri): 6 – 9pm; exhibition youth matches start at 4.45pm
27 May (Sat): 9am – 7.40pm
28 May (Sun): 9am – 6pm

UCI Track Cycling World Championships

The 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships will take place at the HK Velodrome from the 12-16 April (Wednesday to Sunday this week). 300 elite cyclists from over 40 countries will gather to compete for the famous rainbow jersey, symbol of UCI World Champion, which can be worn in every race while World Champion. This is the largest track cycling event ever hosted in Hong Kong.

Three World Champion are up for grabs on the opening day of the 5-day event: in the Women’s Scratch, Men’s Team Sprint and Women’s Team Sprint. London 2012 Olympic medalist and defending Asian Champion Sarah Lee Wai-sze will compete on home turf with fellow Hong Kong team members including Diao Xiao-juan, Cheung King-lok, Leung Chun-wing and Vivian Ma Wing-yu. Strong contenders from abroad include Team Great Britain’s Olympic Champions Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Steven Burke and Callum Skinner; Australias UCI World Champions Elinor Rebecca, Alex Porter, Callum Scotson and Sam Welsford; and Chinese athletes Zhong Tian-shi, Guo Shuang and Lin Junhong.

Mr. Leung Hung-tak, Chairman of HK Cycling Association said, “It’s our honor to host the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong. Local riders will definitely endeavour to obtain the best possible result in the Championships. We encourage the public to join the event and cheer for the Hong Kong Team!”

Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Session 1- 15:00
W- Team Pursuit- Qualifying
M- Team Pursuit- Qualifying
Estimated finish time- 17:35

Session 2- Starts 19:00 (Opening ceremony 18:40)
W- Team Sprint- Qualifying, 1st round, Finals & Ceremony *
M- Team Sprint- Qualifying, 1st round, Finals & Ceremony *
W- Scratch- Final & Ceremony
M- Team Pursuit- 1st round
Estimated finish time- 21:30

Thursday, 13 April 2017
Session 3- Starts 15:00
W- Sprint- Qualifying, 1/16 & 1/8
M- Keirin- 1st round & Repechages
Estimated finish time- 17:15

Session 4- Starts 19:00
W- Team Pursuit- 1st round, Finals & Ceremony
W- Sprint- 1/4
M- Keirin- 2nd round, Finals & Ceremony
M- Team Pursuit- Final & Ceremony
M- Scratch- Final & Ceremony
Estimated finish time- 21:50

Friday, 14 April 2017
Session 5- Starts 13:30
M- Sprint- Qualifying, 1/16 & 1/8
W- Omnium- 1/2
M- Individual Pursuit- Qualifying
Estimated finish time- 17:00

Session 6- Starts 19:00
M- Points Race- Final & Ceremony
W- Sprint- Semi-Finals, 3-4 Places, Finals & Ceremony
W- Omnium- 2/2 & Ceremony
M- Individual Pursuit- 3-4 Places, Finals & Ceremony
Estimated finish time- 22:10

Saturday, 15 April 2017
Session 7- Starts 12:30
W- 500m TT- Qualifying *
M- Sprint- Quarter-Finals
M- Omnium- 1/2
W- Individual Pursuit- Qualifying
Estimated finish time- 15:20

Session 8- Starts 19:00
W- 500m TT- Final & Ceremony
M- Omnium- 2/2 & Ceremony
M- Sprint- Semi-Finals, 3-4 Places, Finals & Ceremony
W- Madison- Final & Ceremony *
W- Individual Pursuit- 3-4 Places, Finals & Ceremony
Estimated finish time- 22:25

Sunday, 16 April 2017
Session 9- Starts 10:00
W- Keirin- 1st round & Repechages
M- Kilo TT- Qualifying *
Estimated finish time- 11:10

Session 10- Starts 14:00
W- Keirin- 2nd round, 7-12 Places, Final & Ceremony
W- Points Race- Final & Ceremony
M- Kilo TT- Final & Ceremony
M- Madison- Final & Ceremony
Estimated finish time- 17:00

UCI Track Cycling World Championships
Date: 12-16 April, 2017
Venue: HK Veledrome
Tickets: $400, $300, $270, $200, $160, $120 from Ticketflap

HKWR7s – Hong Kong 15-10 Belgium @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s last game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, and finally a win 15-10 over Belgium who topped the group. Another tournament of untaken opportunities for the home team…
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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HKWR7s – Hong Kong 7-17 Argentina @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s second game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, a bad 17-7 loss to Argentina.
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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HKWR7s – Hong Kong 21-24 Kenya @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s first game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, a disappointing 24-21 loss to Kenya.
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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Women’s Sevens @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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A boisterous crowd filled So Kon Po for day 1 of the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens. The action was fast and furious if ultimately frustrating for Hong Kong fans. There were some great tries, superb team defence, great goal kicking, moments of individual brilliance and pure stubbornness – all-in-all a day of great rugby and a fantastic showcase for the Women’s game.
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images.

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Women’s Sevens Turns Twenty

Interest in women’s rugby has surged since the Olympic games so it’s appropriate that as it turns Twenty, the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens finally gets the recognition the hard working women behind the tournament deserve and becomes a World Series Qualifier.

Why Hong Kong hasn’t been a core tournament on the Women’s World Sevens Series since the outset has been a question no one could/would answer – probably because the men running the HKRU, one of the richest rugby unions in the world, couldn’t see past their massive cash and status generating behemoth of a men’s tournament to even acknowledge that women’s rugby existed and should be funded…

And while this weekend is about Sevens, it needs to be repeated and shouted from our thousands of skyscrapers that the Hong Kong women’s rugby team are going to the World Cup in Ireland later this year. The first and only Hong Kong team ever qualify for a World Cup!!! It’s a massive achievement, and many of the players will be playing in the Women’s Sevens over the next two days at So Kon Po. So take the time, to attend and watch and give them your support. They are modern day heroines!

Twelve teams from the six World Rugby regions will take part in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier at So Kon Po down the road from the Hong Kong Stadium with winner promoted to the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in 2017/18.

The participating teams are South Africa and Kenya (Africa), Jamaica (Americas North), Argentina and Colombia (Americas South), Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands (Europe), Papua New Guinea (Oceania) Japan, China and hosts Hong Kong (Asia).

Three of the participants played in the Rio 2016 Olympics: Kenya, Colombia and Japan Belgium, Colombia, Italy and Jamaica are on debut in Hong Kong, bringing the total number of nations to have participated at the HKWR7s to 41 over the past two decades.

Hong Kong coach Anna Richards is excited at the prospect of playing in the Qualifier. “The quality of the teams is great and the opportunity to contest the qualifier at home is all that you could ask for as a coach. It’s added pressure, of course, but also added excitement.”

“Hong Kong is iconic for Sevens, so hosting the women’s qualifier here is great for the development of the game. The more Women’s events that can be played alongside the men’s tournaments the better,” Richards added.

For the first time, and hopefully not the last, the Cup Semi-finals will be played at HK Stadium. Hong Kong has made the semi-finals for the last two years but fell at the final hurdle and missed out on playing in-front of 40,000 home town fans.

Richards has ensured that the squad have had a more active build-up this year with the squad training with the New Zealand Development squad. “New Zealand was really good for us. We wanted to play against some bigger and more physical opposition. And we footed it really well. They had a lot of quality players in the team in New Zealand, including four contracted players and one Olympian, so it was a really good build-up.”

“We were right in there in those matches and I think the girls gained a lot of confidence. If we can play like that, then I would give us a good chance to make a Semi Final,” Richards said. “To advance we will need to finish in the top two in our pool, but we have had a good build-up and the girls are very focused and enter the tournament with a lot of confidence.”

Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens
When: 6-7 April, 2017
Where: So Kon Po, Semi-final and Final-HK Stadium
How much: Free
More info: www.facebook.com/hkwr.sevens

Additional reporting: HK Rugby