With one year to go until the world’s best rugby sevens players make their Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, World Rugby President Bernard Lapasset is predicting a special and game-changing event that will take rugby to new audiences and inspire even more men, women and children to get into rugby.
Rugby will take its place on sport’s greatest stage on August 6 2016, returning after 92-years to bring the sport’s winning blend of high-octane entertainment and close competition to new fans. With global excitement and anticipation building, qualification reaching its climax and preparations on track, the stage is set for an incredible celebration of rugby.
The global rugby family joined Brazil in marking the milestone with some of the biggest names in the sport taking to social media to show their excitement.
Bernard Lapasset, President of World Rugby, said: “With one year to go until rugby sevens makes its Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016, I am confident we will witness a very special and game-changing celebration of our sport that will reach out and engage new audiences in new nations and communities and inspire record participation.
“Global participation has already doubled to 7.2 million since the announcement that rugby will be included at Rio 2016. Through programmes like our Get in Rugby initiative, children around the world are being introduced to the game and its character-building values.
“We are excited and honoured to be back on the Olympic stage and are anticipating an incredible reception from fans in Rio and around the world, who will experience the dynamic athleticism of our rugby Olympians in a unique festival atmosphere.”
So far eight of a possible 12 teams have qualified in each of the men’s and women’s events for Rio 2016 in what has been compelling and competitive action across the respective World Rugby Sevens Series and subsequent qualifying events. The global qualification process continues with regional tournaments in Asia, Africa and Oceania taking place over the next few months with the final play-off tournament taking place in June 2016.
Ticket sales are also progressing well ahead of what promises to be a spectacular festival of rugby. The interest in rugby at Rio 2016 has been strong both from Brazilians and international sports fans. Capacity crowds are expected for the men’s and women’s rugby competitions, which will take place at Deodoro Olympic Park during the opening week of the Games.
Lapasset added: “Preparation is advancing well for our rugby sevens debut and construction is now underway to deliver a bespoke 15,000 seater stadium that has teams and fans at its heart. I am sure that rugby sevens, in the heart of the lively Deodoro Complex, will prove to be one of the must-see events at the Games.”