Planning to maximise the benefits of Rugby Sevens’ inclusion in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was the focus of an innovative Women’s Rugby conference in Sydney last week.
The three-day IRB Accelerated High Performance Workshop was attended by 20 delegates from 13 IRB Member Unions in Asia and Oceania as well as leading figures from the Game and global industry experts.
The objective for all attending Unions was the development and implementation of an effective High Performance Plan that will drive the competitiveness and performance pathway to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
IRB Rugby Committee Member and captain of the Australia Sevens side that won the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009, Cheryl Soon opened the workshop and was impressed with what she saw.
“Women’s Rugby is going from strength to strength. We now have more women and girls playing Rugby than ever before and Unions are beginning to maximise the positive effects of Olympic inclusion, which is really exciting,” said Soon.
“The sheer level of enthusiasm towards Women’s Rugby and commitment displayed by Unions and National Olympic Committees underscores our belief that the sport will continue to grow and prosper as we count down to Rio.”
IRB Women’s Development Manager Susan Carty said: “A key strategic goal of the ground-breaking IRB Women’s Rugby Plan is to deliver a world-class Rugby Sevens women’s event at the Olympic Games in four years’ time and thanks to IOC support and commitment from our Unions the hosting of these workshops mark a significant step in reaching that objective.”
“The purpose of the workshop is to strengthen High Performance structures within our Unions and ultimately increase the overall competitiveness of Women’s Rugby as we embark on an exciting period of competitions that includes the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.”
The programme is based on the athlete performance pathway model of the World Academy of Sport, who work in partnership in delivering the IRB Administrators Academy. The Workshop focused on strategies to deliver the best-possible High Performance pathway for elite Women’s Rugby players, with Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020 key goals for participating Unions in addition to major tournaments such as Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in Paris.
The IRB will continue to provide support to Unions in the implementation of their four-year plans (2012-2016) using existing regional-based development officers, and so far 45 Unions have participated in workshops with further events planned over the next 12 months to ensure that Unions are best-placed to challenge for Olympic qualification.
The High Performance Workshop underscores the IRB’s commitment to ensuring Member Unions have access to expert advice and support structures to increase the competiveness and standard of the Women’s Game and develop the next generation of world stars.