Former England rugby sevens Captain and 2009 IRB Player of the Year, Ollie Phillips has joined the team at Clipper Ventures, the company that owns and operates the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, as a partnerships and development ambassador.
The deal follows Phillips’ participation in the Great Britain team during the 2013-14 edition of the international Clipper Race which finished in St Katharine Docks next to Tower Bridge in London on Saturday 12 July following eleven months racing round the planet.
Phillips retains the option to join the Great Britain rugby sevens team for Rio 2016, when the sport makes its Olympic debut, should he be selected in either a playing or support capacity.
'We are very pleased that Ollie is joining the company,' said Clipper Ventures’ Chief Executive William Ward. 'The passion and experience he has developed with the Clipper Race, through his participation over the last year, puts him in an excellent position to act as an ambassador for our partnerships, social engagement and personal development programmes.
'Ollie will be sharing that experience with existing and new partners at special events and bespoke presentations to both grow and add value to our sponsorship portfolio.'
The former Newcastle Falcons and Stade Francais player took on the Clipper Race challenge after suffering a serious calf injury. The highly competitive sportsman helped take the Great Britain Clipper 2013-14 Race team to a ‘silver’ finish in second place on the podium overall out of the 12-yacht field.
'I joined the Clipper Race with absolutely no sailing experience or knowledge about the event and have learned so much over the last eleven months; it’s opened up a totally new world,' explained Phillips. 'It’s been the best experience of my life. I’m extremely excited about joining the company and helping to build on its successes.
'The Clipper Race is a unique and extremely powerful international platform. I got to witness first-hand how it provided trade and tourism benefits for team sponsors such as Great Britain and major brand partners like Land Rover, while also providing opportunities for a variety of innovative social engagement programmes.'
Throughout the race Phillips helped to host business guests in ports of call aboard the Great Britain yacht in major global markets. He also worked as an international rugby sevens ambassador, engaging with Federations in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, the United States and Northern Ireland to coach national and local teams during stopovers with the aim of increasing awareness of the Clipper Race to broader sports networks.
One of the most notable events took place in Brazil where Ollie and the Clipper Race joined up with Rio 2016 Olympic organisers to introduce youths to rugby for the first time during a training session with the Brazilian rugby Captain and Rio’s favela based coaches, on Flamenco beach. The session included a tour of the Great Britain boat at the 2016 Olympic sailing venue, Marina da Gloria.
Phillips added: 'I’m incredibly passionate about the Clipper Race and see many exciting possibilities to develop its links with business and the international sports industry to help generate even more widespread awareness for this unique and incredible event. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with as many people as possible.'