With Cup place in the bag, HKRFU's focus turns to breakthrough medal Buoyed by the success of qualifying for next year's World Cup Sevens, Hong Kong officials yesterday said the twin targets of winning medals at the 2009 East Asian Games and the 2010 Asian Games was a realistic goal. 'We have achieved one of our objectives in the union's strategic plan which was to qualify for the 2009 World Cup Sevens,' said Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) executive director Allan Payne. 'This is a huge accomplishment and no doubt we can look forward confidently to our next target which is to win a medal at a multi-sports games.' The HKRFU's second strategic plan - from 2007 to 2011 - includes three objectives for the sevens squad: to qualify for the 2009 World Cup in Dubai; to win a medal at the 2009 East Asian Games in Hong Kong; and to win a medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. By finishing second to Japan in the Asia qualifiers at the weekend, it is a case of one down, two to go. And officials are supremely confident the other two goals can be met. The union's aim is to win a medal at the Asian Games and become the first team sport in Hong Kong history to achieve this feat. HKRFU head of performance Ivan Torpey said: 'What is most significant about this result last weekend is the fact that nine out of the 12 players are Asian Games qualified. This bodes well for the future.' Only captain Andrew Chambers, Mark Goosen and Johnny Gbenda-Charles fall outside eligibility requirements as they were not born in Hong Kong, nor do they have Asian parentage. The rest of the team, many of whom figured in the narrow 12-10 loss to Asian champions Japan, are all eligible. Japan fielded three foreign-born players in the team, none of whom will be able to play at the Asian Games or the East Asian Games. Hong Kong can also draw on a number of other players, including the injured Ricky Cheuk Ming-yin, Jeff Wong, Kwok Ka-chun, Ed Haynes and Tsang Hing-hung. They are all pushing for places. 'While qualifying for the World Cup is a huge achievement, we realise we need to win medals at the Asian Games and the East Asian Games to be recognised by the wider public in Hong Kong,' Torpey said. 'But at the same time, the fact we have continued the legacy of appearing at every World Cup tournament is a remarkable achievement.' By qualifying for the Dubai World Cup Sevens, Hong Kong have kept the proud record of appearing at all five World Cups, a feat which no other sport can boast of. While commending the players for their performance, Torpey also paid tribute to the backroom staff of Rodney McIntosh (coach), Alex Gibbs (assistant coach) and Nathan Stewart (fitness coach) for their role in the success. 'It is getting harder to qualify every time with standards constantly improving. The fact they have achieved it is special and they have to bottle moments like these up,' Torpey said. Meanwhile, sevens heroes Mark Wright and Rowan Varty - two of the professionals paid by the HKRFU - will return to England this week to train with Premiership teams Leicester and London Irish and, they hope, play for their feeder clubs.