Delegates from the International Rugby Board were among officials representing 28 federations participating in the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) London Olympic Games review meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland this week.
With the Rio 2016 cycle well and truly underway and Rugby Sevens set to make its debut in four years time, the highly-constructive meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for the IRB to discuss with federations the key learnings from the London 2012 review process.
ASOIF Director, Andrew Ryan, said: “It was important to have IRB present at the London debrief and understand the key issues as we believe Rugby Sevens will play an important part in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio even though it will be making its first appearance. We are excited about the growth of the sport worldwide and with its unique qualities we view Rugby Sevens as making a significant contribution to not only the sports programme, but also to the Games atmosphere overall”.
The IRB also met with members of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to progress implementation of the specific operational and organisational requirements that will underscore a successful and spectacular Rugby Sevens event at the Olympic Games.
Milestone for Rio 2016
The meetings represent another significant milestone on the road to Rio 2016 for the IRB and its Member Federations. A new Sevens strategic plan has been implemented to provide the roadmap for accelerated growth, participation and competition, including the pillars of Olympic Games qualification, to maximise the benefits of Olympic Games inclusion.
IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "We are a committed and proactive member of the Olympic family and these highly-constructive meetings provided an invaluable opportunity to advance our planning and preparation for our Rugby Sevens debut at Rio 2016."
"We enjoy an excellent partnership with the IOC and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, and are united in our vision of delivering an exceptional event that will be fantastic for the Olympic Games and fantastic for the global Rugby community."
"This is certainly an exciting time for Rugby as we enter the Rio 2016 cycle. We are already experiencing the benefits of Olympic Games inclusion with growth in emerging and new markets. Our Member Unions are establishing strong partnerships with their respective National Olympic Committees and interest and participation in men's and women's Rugby Sevens continues to go from strength to strength."
The next 12 months will be seminal for Rugby Sevens as the opening round of the inaugural four-event IRB Women's Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai on November 30, while Sevens will break new ground when Moscow plays host to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 - the first time that Russia has hosted an IRB Sevens event.