International Rugby
Sevens recommended for Olympics
August 13, 2009

Rugby Sevens has been recommended for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board, joining golf on the shortlist after beating five other bids.

The decision was taken at an IOC board meeting in Berlin, with the final debate on whether to admit the sports in to the Games set to take place on October 9 in Copenhagen. Sevens and golf saw off competition from softball, karate, squash, roller-sports and baseball, with women's boxing also getting the green-light for the 2012 Games.

International Rugby Board (IRB) president Bernard Lapasset welcomed the decision after he spearheaded the sport's effort. Sevens has risen to a prominent role within the rugby world in recent years, and Olympic inclusion will open untold doors in terms of expansion in to Asia and America.

A bid failed in 2005 due to the lack of development in the women's game, something that was addressed in part by the successful parallel staging of the men's and women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai this year.

Should Sevens secure the vote in October, the Rugby World Cup will likely be scrapped in order for the sport to view the Olympics as its showpiece event.

"We would like to thank the IOC executive board for selecting Rugby Sevens from what are seven strong and diverse sports," said Lapasset. "We recognise the significance of this milestone in our campaign but are also mindful that the ultimate decision rests with the IOC members when they meet in Copenhagen on October 9 2009.

"The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the rugby family, providing the opportunity for the best men's and women's players in the world to showcase their talent on the world's greatest sporting stage. The international rugby community is united behind rugby Sevens' campaign and we now look ahead to October."

England's elite rugby director Rob Andrew also hailed the decision's potential to help rugby reach new popularity.

"Sevens is short, sharp and entertaining and reflects the Olympics' core values of sportsmanship, friendship, respect and discipline," he said. "Rugby can play a role in achieving the IOC's mission statement of reaching out to young people.

"We realise though that this is just the first step and the final decision rests with the IOC committee. We hope they will see that rugby would be good for the Olympics and the Olympics would be good for rugby. "

Rugby last featured in the Olympics in 1924, in the 15-man format, and the tournament was won by the USA.


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