A Hong Kong newsmaker is chosen each month by HKFP. Click here to view previous nominees. Royce Chan was voted by her teammates as the Player of the Tournament at the Women’s Rugby World Cup. She is selected as our Person of the Month for September 2017.

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Around 15 years ago, Royce Chan was hanging out at bars playing darts when she met the person who would go on to become her employer and – more importantly – introduce her to rugby. Back then, Chan was mostly interested in the sport in order to lose weight..

Now, at the age of 39, she was voted as Player of the Tournament by her teammates following the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.

The Hong Kong team beat Fiji at the qualifiers last year and won a place in the international tournament. According to Lindsay Varty, a member of the women’s rugby team, Hong Kong had already broken three records even before the three-week long contest began: “They were the first Hong Kong representative team to appear at a 15s rugby World Cup, they were the only team with a female head coach, and their team included the oldest and shortest players in the entire tournament – Christine Gordon and Mak Ho-yee, respectively.”

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Royce Chan. Photo provided by interviewee.

The team returned to Hong Kong having suffered five losses in their five games, but Chan was unfazed. She told HKFP it was motivating that a rugby team from the city made it as far as the World Cup — a first for the women’s team. Having both Japan and Hong Kong take a spot among the 12 teams that compete in the competition was also an encouraging development for the sport in Asia, she said.

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Royce Chan (middle). Photo: Kelvin Wong.

Chan said that she believed the team fulfilled their roles and that – even with her age and experience – the competition was a great learning opportunity. When asked about her accolade, she was modest and said that it was likely because her team knew she was about to retire: “I want to challenge myself in other areas.”

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.