Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong


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AXA Hong Kong-YMCA Walking Football 2018- 2020 Kick-off Ceremony


Walking Football 2018- 2020 Kick-off Ceremony動禮


AXA Hong Kong-YMCA Walking Football 2018- 2020 Kick-off Ceremony

Embrace the World Cup with Hong Kong’s First Walking Football League!

Former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke, rising local famous singer Hubert Wu,

and prominent football celebrities join to support this new form of sport


Press Release


8 April 2018, Hong Kong – Statistics show that a lot of people approaching retirement age become increasingly concerned about their health. Taking part in an appropriate and enjoyable physical activity can help seniors stay healthy in the second half of their lives. To encourage people aged 50 and above and those with chronic illnesses to do more exercise, Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong (“the YMCA” or “the Association”) introduced the sport of walking football from the UK to Hong Kong in 2015. Walking football is a physical activity which allows participants to enjoy the fun of football but without the risk of strain or injury which comes from running and contact with other players. This year, the YMCA will join hands with AXA Hong Kong to launch the Hong Kong’s first Walking Football League and the project is currently recruiting senior football fans to play in the first Walking Football World Cup, which will be held in the UK in 2020.


With the FIFA World Cup 2018 just around the corner, football fans around the world are getting excited. Here in Hong Kong, the YMCA and AXA Hong Kong started this football frenzy early with another eye-catching event: the “AXA Hong Kong –YMCA Walking Football 2018-2020 Kick-off Ceremony”, held at Plaza Hollywood on 8 April 2018.


A number of football stars and celebrities attended the ceremony, including Dwight Yorke, a former striker for Manchester United; local famous singer Hubert Wu; former Hong Kong footballer Poon Man Tik; Hong Kong Movie Star Sports Association Football Team player Dr Law Ka Ying, MH; and Mr Chung Chi Kwong, a well-known football commentator. The guests demonstrated the walking football skills, led ball exercise and shared their thoughts on this emerging sport with the public in a fun and engaging ceremony.


In his speech, Mr Karl Lau, General Secretary of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, said, “Our Association is committed to promoting community sports and we are also committed to serving the physical and mental needs of senior members of the community. In addition to encouraging seniors to do more exercise, the YMCA hopes that the new sport of walking football will help all participants explore a new interest and make some like-minded friends along the way. Above all, brightening up the second half of their lives is our goal!”


Etienne Bouas-Laurent, Chief Executive Officer of AXA Hong Kong, expressed his support for this meaningful initiative by saying, “AXA Foundation is delighted to partner with the YMCA in promoting Walking Football to Hong Kong, which is in line with our purpose of ‘empowering people to live a better life’. Walking football has been proven to be effective in helping people keep active and healthy, both physically and mentally. We believe that Walking Football will help people in their golden age, and people with chronic illnesses, to live healthier and longer lives. I hope to see Walking Football become a popular sport in Hong Kong and we look forward to training up qualified players to take part in the first Walking Football World Cup in 2020.”


Dwight Yorke, former Manchester United player, expressed his appreciation and joy about the popularity of walking football around the world in such a short period of time. He told the audience, “Football has changed my life. Even after retiring, my enthusiasm for football has not diminished. I believe that Hong Kong is a city with a passion for football and I think that walking football can be popular among everyone in the city and bring positive changes to people's lives.”


Hubert Wu, a local famous singer, is a big fan of Brazilian football. He showed his Brazilian football skills during the ceremony; while Dr Law Ka Ying, MH, a renowned football enthusiast, expressed how he lost confidence in his ability to play football since undergoing knee surgery some years ago. He thinks that walking football is a good choice for him, since players are not allowed to run or make contact with other players, while the excitement of playing football still remains. He expressed his interest in forming a team to take part in the Walking Football World Cup.


Walking football is of course a sport that can be played by men and women. Ms Cheuk, who had no experience playing football previously, said that after joining the walking football project, she has new topic of conversation between her and her family. She now enjoys watching football on TV with her family, and her success in playing walking football has boosted her confidence: her current goal is to take part in the 2020 Walking Football World Cup – and to get there she has been practising day and night.


Since introducing the sport of walking football to Hong Kong in 2015, the YMCA has held a number of trial games and training sessions, attracting over 1,000 participants so far. These have included artists Lawrence Cheng Tan Shui, Alfred Cheung Kin Ting and Chung Chi Kwong, and Hong Kong Football Team coach Kim Pan-Gon. Last year’s Walking Football Cup in Hong Kong saw many teams from various social welfare organisations and individuals take part in the competition. The Association also held a trial walking football day in March 2018, which attracted many participants.


Thanks to the overwhelming response from the previous walking football events and the support of AXA Foundation, the YMCA is now launching AXA Hong Kong–YMCA Walking Football 2018- 2020. This two-year project will see representatives from the UK’s Walking Football Association invited to serve as mentors to local coaches and referees and offer assistance in drafting game rules. Participants will also receive pre-game and post-game physical assessments to evaluate the physical and mental benefits of playing the sport. The ultimate hope is to enhance the acceptance and recognition of walking football while boosting its popularity.


Also, to increase the attractiveness of the sport and underline that walking football is still a competitive game, league games will be regularly organised to give participants a chance to show off their skills. The Association also hopes to help players deepen their friendships and expand their social networks through competitive play. By sending a team to participate in the world’s first Walking Football World Cup to be held in the UK in 2020, it is hoped that these senior players will bring new sporting glory to Hong Kong.


Event details for media coverage

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Annex 1:

About Walking Football

Walking Football is an emerging sport for people aged 50 and over, and for those with chronic illnesses. The game uses five-a-side football game as the basis for play, but with several crucial differences: players are not allowed to run, the ball must not exceed a certain head height restriction, and no contact with other players is allowed. Launched in the UK in 2011, walking football has become a popular sport in 25 countries including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. In 2015, the YMCA introduced walking football to Hong Kong.


Annex 2:

Details of AXA Hong Kong-YMCA Walking Football 2018-2020

  • A two-year term project, aimed to boost the health of people aged 50 and above and those with chronic illnesses.
  • Coaches and referees: Qualified tutors from the UK’s Walking Football Association will be invited to Hong Kong to serve as the mentors for local coaches and referees. They will also offer basic walking football skills training sessions over eight sessions.
  • Training classes: Teaching basic walking football skill for participants in 8 lessons.
  • Walking Football League: League games will be played over a six-month cycle.
  • Walking Football League Cup: The best-performing teams of each season will play against each other in a year-end League Cup.
  • Walking Football Fun Day: To introduce the sport of walking football to the public and feature trial sessions to enhance the public’s understanding of walking football.
  • Health impacts study: Participants will receive pre-game and post-game physical assessments to evaluate the physical and mental benefits of playing the sport.


Annex 3:

The Development of Walking Football in Hong Kong

Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong introduced walking football to Hong Kong, bringing it to the territory from the UK in 2015. Since then, several promotional activities have been held to promote the sport:

  • Walking football training classes
  • Hong Kong’s first Walking Football Cup, a social service event created by the participants of walking football training classes and fully supported by Hong Kong artists Cheng Tan Shui, Cheung Kin Ting and Chung Chi Kwong and Hong Kong Football Team coach Kim Pan-Gon.
  • Walking Football Promotion Project Kick-off Ceremony and Trial Day


Annex 4:

About the Organisers

Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong

Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong was established in 1901. The organisation’s objective and purpose are set out in its constitution as being “the development of Christian character and the cultivation of the Christian spirit of service among young men, by the teachings of Jesus Christ.” The Association is committed to building a civil and compassionate Hong Kong through multiple service programmes based on holistic personal growth, commitment to the underprivileged and reconciliation extending from self to society.


AXA Foundation

AXA Foundation is established by AXA Hong Kong. With the purpose “Empower People to Live a Better Life” in mind, it pledges to support various programmes related to health and education in town. Through supporting different charities, AXA Foundation is committed to serve all walks of life in the community in order to contribute to the sustainability of the society.

AXA Foundation is dedicated to help the needy, so that everyone can be empowered to enjoy a stable and prosperous life.