The big Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens rugby weekend won't start until March 28, but support for Hong Kong's team has already come in a remarkable way. Local students took part in the "Support Hong Kong Team" Drawing Competition, organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and sponsored by HSBC.
Students were asked to create sketches on A3 paper, and include the message "Go Hong Kong" in either English or Chinese. The winners will get tickets to the Hong Kong Sevens.
Wai Bei, the Hong Kong team mascot, visited three of the schools involved to draw with students.
His first stop was Confucius Hall Secondary School, located next to Hong Kong Stadium, where the Hong Kong Sevens is held. Wai Bei met students in a Form Six visual arts class who were drawing portraits of him.
Alan Li Ngai-lun, 19, was among the group. He said he was happy that Wai Bei had come so that he could see him up close. Alan's picture shows an overjoyed Wai Bei enjoying the party atmosphere. His artwork was inspired by the crowd in the South Stand.
"I usually draw portraits of political leaders and famous people who I have never met before," said Alan. "Wai Bei's presence in my classroom was a great way to make my artwork real."
Alan watched the battle between Hong Kong and Fiji at last year's Sevens. He told Wai Bei to play for Hong Kong, believing the mascot's wings would help him to perform brilliantly.
"I was thrilled when I watched the match last March, and I told myself I had to do something this year to support our local heroes. This competition was the perfect chance to let me do this," said Alan.
Alan's classmate Joey Leung Ka-ki, 18, drew Wai Bei and the spectators in an amusing style. She had only finished the draft when Wai Bei arrived, so he watched her add colours to the characters.
"I used acrylic paint in my piece for this competition. You can see our local rugby fans holding a cup of milk tea and dressed up to show support for the Hong Kong team," said Joey.
Wai Bei also met some younger artists at two primary schools, Po Leung Kuk Fong Wong Kam Chuen Primary School in Tuen Mun and Queen Elizabeth School Old Students' Association Branch Primary School in Tin Shui Wai.
Zaki Leung Sai-ki, 10, a Primary Five student at the Tuen Mun school, drew a plane with three big rugby balls with special features.
"Besides supporting the Hong Kong team, I also wanted to pay tribute to Hong Kong in my picture," Zaki said. "You can see I've drawn several things that represent the city - for example, the trams and the Star Ferry, Ngong Ping 360 and the Buddha."
Harry Chen Wai-hang, also 10, is a Primary Four student at the Tin Shui Wai school. He drew the field and a spectator stand at Hong Kong Stadium.
"My picture shows live action of a match featuring the Hong Kong team. With the help of three Wai Bei mascots, Hong Kong is leading their rivals 10-0," said Harry.
Wai Bei had a great time with the student artists.
Many took a break from drawing and posed for photos with the Hong Kong mascot.
The response to the competition was overwhelming, and is now closed for entries. The top 40 drawings selected by a judging panel - 20 from primary schools and 20 from secondary schools - will be displayed at an exhibition on the Ground Plaza at the HSBC Headquarters Building in Central next week.