Sevens primed for Olympics

Sevens rugby could be included as an Olympic sport at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens tournament director, Beth Coalter, said the chairperson of the IRB, Bernard Lapasset, was lobbying the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have Sevens instated as an Olympic sport.

The IRB expects to have an answer from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) by October 9 2009.

“There’s a possibility that we will be able to take part as early as 2012,” Coalter told Die Burger.

“The winners won’t receive medals though, but will play demonstration matches only. If these trials in London are a success, there is a strong possibility that Sevens rugby would be included in the 2016 Olympic Games as an official Olympic sport.

“With Sevens rugby you have two days of extremely exciting action. The big stadium in Beijing often stood empty during this year’s Games. When Sevens rugby was played at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, spectators filled the seats.

“The profile of Sevens rugby would be raised considerably by being part of the Olympics, meaning that participating countries would also receive the support of their governments,” explained Coalter.

Speaking of the World Cup in Dubai (5-7 March 2009), Coalter said: “After the Dubai tournament, we went back to the drawing board to see how we could improve. One change to be implemented is that we will also have 16 women’s teams to go with the 24 men’s teams at the World Cup tournament.”