Kampuchea Balopp are about to embark on an exciting weekend trip of rugby to Hong Kong with 12 hearing impaired children from the NGO Krousar Thmey thanks to the HKRFU (Hong Kong Rugby Football Union).
The weekend trip which runs from Thursday October 9- Sunday October 12 which has been sponsored by the HKRFU and organised by Robbie McRobbie (Community Manager at Hong Kong Rugby Union) sees 11 Cambodian boys and one girl travel with a representative of Krousar Thmey and accompanied by Kampuchea Balopp Program Development Manager Jean Baptiste Suberbie and senior coach Khemrin Dul.
They will be leading the team to play a 2 match challenge against a combined Chun Tok/Lutheran side as part of this Saturday’s inaugural Hong Kong Beach Sports Festival in Repulse Bay, HK. “The two teams will be a mix of boys and girls, and they’ll play the tag variation of rugby which avoids full contact – with some of the students having expensive cochlea implants tackling is not an option, even on the soft sand of Repulse Bay beach. For those students who have the more traditional removable hearing aids this is not a barrier however, and several students have gone on to join local clubs and participate in the domestic rugby leagues.” said the HKRFU. You can see more on their website here
None of the 12 children, who range in age from 13-17 years old, have ever travelled overseas before and this will signify the first official international rugby game for a Khmer hearing impaired team. As part of the Hong Kong trip the Cambodian youth will spend a morning at the Chun Tok school where the teachers have planned a series of activities to “Bridge the Gap” and give the students an opportunity to get to know each other and build friendships. The group will enjoy some of the sights and sounds of Hong Kong by visiting Ocean Park before the tournament on Saturday.
Kampuchea Balopp’s Khemrin Dul added that it was a “really good to chance for the Krousar Thmey kids to visit Hong Kong and see life outside of Cambodia, and a good experience to build their self confidence. Its great for them to meet kids from other countries who share the same impairments. Thanks for Hong Kong Rugby Football Union for the opportunity!” Jean Baptiste Suberbie said “it will be the first time they travel abroad and visit a country like Hong Kong, and for them to represent their country and their NGO is something they can be proud if, all of the families of the kids are very happy and proud. They have overcome disabilities and adversity so we are sending a good message the whole community.”
The team has been preparing for the unusual non contact tag rugby tournament in anticipation of the trip and are all very excited. Miss Alix Le Roy, Communication officer for Krousar Thmey Cambodia added “Thanks to Kampuchea Balopp and HKRFU, 12 hearing impaired students of Phnom Penh Thmey school will have a great opportunity to express their talents and have fun through this rugby competition! We are very excited and we hope they will come back with a lot of positive memories, exploring a new country, meeting with other hearing impaired children enjoying rugby as much as themselves. The amazing visit to Hong Kong and the simple pleasure of travelling all together will strengthen their friendship. Again, we want to warmly thank Kampucha Balopp for this incredible trip. Make them enjoy it.”
Kampuchea Balopp wishes the team all the best for the tournament and their trip.