June 19,2014(ISN) – The International Rugby Board has confirmed the six men’s and six women’s teams that will participate in the Rugby Sevens competitions at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games from August 17-20.
Nanjing will be the first time that Rugby Sevens has appeared on the Olympic programme and 144 players will participate across the six men’s and six women’s teams with Japan, France, Argentina, Kenya, Fiji and USA going for gold in the men’s competition and Canada, China, Spain, Australia, Tunisia and USA competing for honours in the women’s event.
The teams were confirmed and ratified by the IRB following a qualification process based on the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 rankings and the selection of participating team sports by the respective National Olympic Committees.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This is an exciting and historic moment for our sport and also for the boys and girls who will represent Rugby in our return to the Olympic stage.”
“The experiences that our young players will learn in Nanjing will stretch way beyond the field of play. They will shape the character of the men and women that these players will become. They will learn to compete in the spirit of fair play, to respect their opponents and appreciate the importance of playing on an even playing field.”
“I am sure that the Rugby Sevens events will be a hit with players and fans around the world and in Nanjing where more than 3,000 children have been introduced to the sport via our Get Into Rugby mass participation programme. I am looking forward to attending what promises to be an exceptional Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE NANJING YOG SCHEDULE >>
Olympic inclusion has played a massive role in attracting new participants with an unprecedented 6.6 million men, women and children now playing the sport across all continents. Nanjing will generate further engagement among the world’s youth as in stadia and in conversation the sport continues to reach out, engage and inspire young people to participate and have fun.
Double Winter Olympic Gold Medallist and Canadian Rugby Sevens player Heather Moyse has been appointed as an IOC Athlete Role Model in Nanjing and is looking forward to the experience. She will be available to the young athletes during the Games as part of the ‘Learn and Share’ programme to offer her advice and experiences as a professional athlete.
Speaking earlier this year, Moyse said: “I am honoured and excited to be selected as an Athlete Role Model at what is such an exciting time for Rugby and the Olympic movement. Rugby shares the same values as the Olympic movement and a mission to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and to have fun.”
Meanwhile, the global Rugby family will join with Olympic Sports in celebrating #OlympicDay on June 23. To mark the occasion, the IRB is challenging men, women, boys and girls to get active and share pictures and videos of them enjoying playing Rugby. IRB.com will also feature an #OlympicDay take-over with live blog, star names, social media activity and plenty of fun.
Fans can join the conversation @irbsevens, @irbwomens and @IRBmedia