IOC President Thomas Bach, IRB President Bernard Lapasset and Heather Moyse at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. Photo: IOC
Aug 21,2014(ISN) – International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has joined International Rugby Board President Bernard Lapasset and the global Rugby family in hailing the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Rugby Sevens event.
Bach was joined by a host of IOC and NOC members at a packed venue in Nanjing to see the newest Olympic sport and witness a compelling, exciting tournament with boys and girls teams from around the globe competing for the first Olympic Rugby gold medals to be awarded in 90 years.
With the festival atmosphere making the Rugby Sevens one of the must-see events in Nanjing, Australia’s girls and France’s boys made history by claiming the inaugural gold medals. China’s girls delighted the home crowd to take bronze and Fiji claimed a first-ever Olympic medal with bronze in the boys’ competition.
Bach said: “It’s a great competition, you can see how dynamic and fascinating Rugby Sevens can be and is, and we are looking forward to a great tournament in Rio. It is always critical to get it right at a big event like the Youth Olympics Games or Olympic Games.”
It was an historic and emotional occasion for Lapasset, who is now looking forward to ensuring a successful and spectacular Rugby Sevens debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“It was a very special, emotional and historic occasion for the global Rugby family and the players and the competition was exciting and played in the shared values of the Youth Olympics and Rugby,” said Lapasset.
“The future is certainly bright for global Rugby and we can now look forward to delivering a Rugby Sevens event at the Rio Games that is great for the Olympics, great for Rugby and great for Brazil.”
Embraced by the host nation, the IRB has worked in partnership with the IOC and the local organising committee to deliver its Get Into Rugby participation programme. Centred on participation and enjoyment, the Get Into Rugby activity in Nanjing featured team visits and coaching clinics to local schools during the Games, capping a programme that has introduced more than 3,000 local boys and girls to Rugby in the last three years.
Double Winter Olympic Games gold medallist and Rugby Canada player Heather Moyse was on hand to assist in her capacity as an IOC Athlete Role Model.
“There is no doubt that Rugby Sevens will be a hit at Rio. We have witnessed a great competition that has captivated the locals, provided our young players with an incredible experience on and off the field and showcased Rugby and its character-building values to the world.”
“Rio is going to be a great event. It will be massive for Rugby’s growth and there is no doubt that our top players are looking forward to it.”