Ryan, the mastermind of Fiji’s first ever Olympic gold medal, is widely regarded to be one of the greatest the game has ever seen and was joined at the initiative by fellow Fiji coach and history maker Chris Cracknell.
Designed by HSBC, the programme is intended to ensure a strong flow of new Emirati talent into the sport and provide a platform for youngsters to mature, enhance and show off new found skills.
Taking place at schools across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the HSBC grassroots initiative first visited Hamdan Bin Rashed School on Wednesday morning before travelling to Dubai College in the afternoon. Sessions at Al Yasmina Academy and The British School, Al Khubairat will follow.
After the success of rugby sevens’ Olympic debut in Rio, the sport is entering into a pivotal year, with a unique opportunity to accelerate the growth of the game. HSBC’s vision for rugby sevens is a dedication to grassroots growth and through programmes such as the player pathway programme and is helping to drive participation in order to ensure a strong flow of new talent into the sport, and make sure the Olympic success isn’t a one off, but the catalyst for even greater success.
Aside from providing opportunity to emerging young talent, the HSBC grassroots initiative has also helped more seasoned youngsters begin their final preparations for the National School Boys competition, which is now a key fixture in the schedule at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens in Dubai.
One of the youngsters hoping to take part in the competition is Ahmed Sallah Ali, 16, from Hamdan Bin Rashed School, who said: “Today was awesome! Training with Ben Ryan and Chris Cracknell is an amazing experience. I’ve learnt some new tricks and one day would like to go and take on the Fiji team, but representing the UAE!”
In advance of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in three weeks’ time one further opportunity awaits three lucky individuals who have participated in the grassroots initiative. Based on attitude and dedication, a select group will be chosen to fine tune their skills in a gruelling Fiji style fitness session led by Ben Ryan on Thursday December 1st alongside rugby legends Brian O’Driscoll and George Gregan.
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, takes place from Thursday 1st December to Saturday 3rd December. Over 100,000 sports fans are expected to walk through the gates at the Sevens Stadium across the three days of world class competition.
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