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Samba time for 7s?

The IOC has made history by appointing a South American city to host the Olympics for the first time. Can they make history for womens rugby later this week?


By Ali Donnelly

If rugby union wins a place in the Olympic Games this Friday, then the worlds top womens 7s players will be heading to Rio in 2016.

The International Olympic Committee made history by awarding the tournament to Rio de Janeiro, which will now become the first South American city to host the event.

That omen is good for rugby as the IOC could be in the mood for further history-making on Friday by giving womens rugby players a chance to feature in the Olympics for the first time.

Despite concerns around the global future of the 15s game at international womens level if 7s gets the nod, a positive decision would unquestionably change the face of the womens game, bringing potentially thousands of new players to the sport.

Rio could also prove a winning venue for womens 7s with a host of South American teams coming to the sport in recent years.

Earlier this year 16 womens sides, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru took part in the South American Sevens Championships with Brazil capturing the title and then earning themselves a place at the Rugby World Cup Sevens women's competition in Dubai in March. They lost out to China in the Bowl final at the event but no doubt they would relish the opportunity to take part in the Olympic Games on home soil.

Friday is now D-Day for rugby as 7s and golf, both recommended for inclusion by the IOC Executive Board in August, face separate votes by the full 106 IOC membership for 2016 inclusion.

The IRB, as part of their campaign to see rugby 7s get a positive vote, have released quotes from leading figures in the game, including plenty of women's rugby faces. Here is a small selection.

I think that if the intention of the Olympics is to unite the people, then rugby is the best example of sport to show because everyone who plays rugby knows what this union represents so I think rugby just needs to be in the Olympics. Beatriz Futuro (Brazil), Womens Sevens captain

I am looking forward to the Olympics. That is the best thing that could happen to the Women's Game if it is included into the Olympics because automatically you are looking at another opportunity like this one and it will just grow the Game. Denver Wannies, South Africa Womens Sevens coach

On the Olympics it would be a dream come true, we have already put Women's Rugby on the map in Australia and the Olympic inclusion would make it all perfect. Sevens is so entertaining and it would change the Game even more in a positive wave. Cheryl Soon (Australia), Women's RWC Sevens 2009 winning captain

Sevens is a highly skilful sport, hugely physically demanding and I truly think that it deserves to be part of the Olympics so I would gain a great deal of satisfaction from that finally being acknowledged. Sue Day (England), Womens Sevens captain

I think Rugby can become big in our country. I think Rugby Sevens should be included in the Olympics because, for us in China especially, it would encourage people to play, especially youngsters. The chance to have rugby in the Olympics will see a boom in Chinese rugby. Zheng Hongjun, China Womens Sevens coach

Keep checking for more on the Olympic decision this week.