South Africa
South Africa Women Sevens blocked from Olympics participation
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
December 16, 2015
© (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

The South Africa Women Sevens side will not be competing in Rio 2016 after the South African Sports and Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) refused to sanction their participation despite meeting the qualifying standard required.

South Africa won the African qualifying competition at Kempton Park in September to secure qualification but that does not satisfy SASCOC's specific criteria as it won't "accept qualification through continental routes, saying they are too weak", according to the South Africa Sunday Times.

This stipulation effectively means that in the future the only feasible way for South Africa to qualify for the Olympics is through finishing in the top four of the World Sevens Series.

It remains to be seen if the South Africa Rugby Union can negotiate with SASCOC to change the decision. Despite the setback, SARU president Oregan Hoskins is adamant they will continue to invest in the Sevens side.

"We are extremely disappointed for our Springbok Women," Hoskins said. "We placed our top players on a full-time programme two years ago and they are trailblazers for professional women's sport and rugby in South Africa. Their appearance at such a showcase sporting occasion would have been inspirational for many young female athletes but it was not to be."

He added: "Women's sport is an imperative for national government and an increasing number of young South African women want to try their hand at rugby. We will be there to provide that platform."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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