IRB Sevens Olympic bid gets further backing

The International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA) is backing Rugby Sevens’ campaign for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Sevens is hoping to be one of two sports recommended for inclusion in the world’s largest sporting event when the IOC Executive Board meets in Berlin on Thursday to finalise its selection.

“IRPA is fully committed to the International Rugby Board’s vision to see Rugby Sevens included in the Olympic Games in 2016 and our players are unanimous in their support,” said IRPA Chairman Damian Hopley, a Rugby World Cup Sevens gold medallist with England in 1993.

“Olympic inclusion would mark an important milestone for our game and would enable rugby and its leading principles of camaraderie, fair play, respect and teamwork to inspire a growing number of young people around the world.

“We also believe that it is important that all athletes are given an opportunity to fulfil their dreams and compete at the highest level possible and there is no greater global sporting stage to achieve this than the Olympic Games.”

Some of the biggest names in the game past and present have been vocal in their support of the campaign, including Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonah Lomu, Bryan Habana, Agustin Pichot and Shane Williams.

England Sevens captain and IRB World Sevens Player of the Year Ollie Phillips is in no doubt that all the top players would love to be a part of a Rugby Sevens team competing in the Olympic Games.

“I have spoken to my fellow top players and we all agree that having the opportunity to compete for a medal at the Olympic Games would be something very special indeed,” said Phillips.

“Participating at the Games would be a unique experience for the players, who would be proud to compete for the right to be called Olympians.

“We all grew up as sports fans watching the world’s best athletes competing on the world’s greatest sporting stage and it is very exciting to know that the Rugby Sevens has the chance of joining the Olympics.”

This latest show of support follows the announcement in March 2009 that the International Rugby Players Association was in full support of the campaign.

Following the recommendation of two sports, the IOC membership will meet in Copenhagen on 9 October to select the two sports that will join the Olympic Programme in 2016.

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