Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rugby sevens included in Olympics

Herald, TV3
Sat, 10 Oct 2009 10:23a.m.

The New Zealand Rugby Union says it is "delighted" at the news sevens rugby will be included in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Chief executive Steve Tew said the decision has come after a six year campaign to get the sport re-admitted into the Olympics, after over 80 years exclusion.

"We are obviously delighted. Sending our best athletes to participate in the Olympics games is a fantastic step for rugby."

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) voted in Copenhagen, Denmark early today (NZT) to support the inclusion of rugby sevens for both men and women at the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games

Tew said he believed the IOC wanted to "refresh the games and look into the future, basically sevens is part of the movement".

"Given New Zealanders shared passion for rugby and the Olympic Games, I am sure all Kiwi rugby fans would be excited at the prospect of our sevens team representing New Zealand on the Olympic stage," Tew he said.

The International Rugby Board delivered a 20-minute presentation that helped secure a comprehensive 81-8 vote in favour of the sport's inclusion in the games for the first time since 1924, the Guardian reported.

IRB secretary general Mike Miller, and president, Bernard Lapasset with a panel of players that included Jonah Lomu argued that the inclusion of sevens in the Olympics would help broaden the spread of countries that could win medals, grow the sport in new territories, and appeal to sponsors and fans, the paper reported.

NZPA