Singapore Rugby Sevens to have its own identity
Morgan believes events like 2016 Singapore Sevens will help sports talent bloom
Instead of trying to outdo the popular Hong Kong Sevens, the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, which kicks off next year at the National Stadium, will work towards having its own identity as being a family-friendly fiesta.
In town for the annual Sports Matters two-day conference at Marina Bay Sands yesterday, HSBC global head of sponsorship and events, Giles Morgan, told The New Paper: "The Singapore Rugby Sevens will take a much more family view.
"It will be much more about the game, about the grassroots, about the celebration of the athletes and the city.
"This is an opportunity to speak to families. I've taken my own young children out to tournaments in the UK and they really enjoyed themselves - the day out, the party, the carnival, the sense of occasion, as well as it being a fun sport to watch."
The tournament is scheduled on April 16 and 17 and it will be the eighth of 10 legs of the hugely popular HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Singapore Sevens is the latest addition to a series of world-class sporting events on the local calendar, alongside the HSBC Women's Champions golf tournament, the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global and the Swimming World Cup presented by Yakult.
Fans in the Republic would love to cheer on local favourites as the country ramps up its desire to be a stage for world-class sports events.
Morgan knows the potential positive socio-economic impact of sporting success on a nation and the 44-year-old Welshman said: "It's probably not the responsibility of the sponsors, but it's certainly something a sponsor can help.
"We always invest in grassroots because I think we have a responsibility as a big business. We have a responsibility to help.
PATH TO SUCCESS
"It's up to the Singaporean governing bodies to set a strategy of what they think is attainable in terms of a pathway to success - find potential talent, develop and nurture it. These things take generations and you have to have a long-term appetite."
Citing the example of China, he said: "Tennis was re-introduced to the Olympics in Seoul 1988 and the Chinese made the decision then that because it was an Olympic sport, they would invest in the sport, and Li Na won a Grand Slam four years ago.
"It's quite a long time, but she's done it and there's a pathway now.
"I'm sure this is happening here - programmes to identify, nurture and evolve talent, so that the potential that must exist within this city for various sports can come through.
"And you hope a catalyst for inspiring the kids would be the WTA Finals, Singapore Rugby Sevens or one of the top-class sporting events that you have here."
There are already a slew of activities being lined up ahead of next year's Singapore Sevens, like school-outreach and development programmes.
The school-outreach programme, called "Tag 7s", aims to reach 14,000 students in 140 schools, teaching them basic rugby skills and values of teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.
A development programme called "Heroes in the Making" will also see selected Under-16 players attend training clinics conducted by local and international coaches and players.
These players will also go through a selection process and two youngsters will earn an all-expenses paid trip to attend elite training programmes at leading regional rugby unions.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now