A few weeks ago, the Rugby Sevens filled Hong Kong’s streets with sports fans eager to support their team, country or just the sport of rugby in general. The yearly tournament is an exciting weekend for both players and supporters, as the stadium overflows with cheers and celebrations for this rough-and-tumble contact sport.
While this year’s Rugby Sevens have come and gone, the excitement and love of the sport still continues for players like Paul Altier.
The 16-year-old South Island School student has been playing rugby for half his life, taking inspiration from watching his older brother. And he has spent most of that athletic career representing Hong Kong.
“I have played for the Hong Kong Under-14, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 teams,” he says.
Paul has had the chance to travel all over the world with the national teams, to compete against some of the region’s toughest squads. Last year, he went up against defending champions Scots College New Zealand at the Malay College Rugby Premier Sevens in Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia. It was the first time in the competition’s history that the final came down to two non-Malay teams. And Paul says the team was feeling the heat - literally, with temperatures reaching 39 degrees Celsius.
But the Hong Kong team pushed through both the heat and pressure, and defeated the reigning champions with a landslide 31-12 victory.
As sweet as such wins are, Paul says his biggest achievement came just in time for the sporting event of this year. “I got a junior part-time contract at the Hong Kong Sports Institute to play rugby sevens,” Paul says. This contract takes him one step closer to reaching his ultimate goal of playing professional rugby sevens. He’s also training for the U20 squad, which is currently in Zimbabwe for the 2016 World Rugby U20
And Paul has very precise goals, one of which has a three-year timeline. “I want to play in the World Cup 2019,” he
It’s no surprise that Paul has a hard time choosing his favourite aspect of rugby. He says he likes contact and attacking, but when it comes down to what he likes best about the sport, he only has one word: “Everything!”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
The songs are either Fast Car by Tracy Chapman or King by Years & Years. As for movies, definitely Forrest Gump.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
Teleportation. I would visit places and family around the world.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Money and life, of course.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
I really like Nike, both for their sports clothes and for shoes.