Women's stars dream of being Olympians in Rio

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 15 August 2012
 Women's stars dream of being Olympians in Rio
Jo Watmore has Olympic fever following London 2012

With the curtain now drawn on London 2012, the Olympic family's eyes are now firmly looking ahead to 2016 when the next Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro. 

Rugby Sevens will takes its place alongside other Olympic sports in four years' time following the IOC's decision in 2009 to induct the sport into their programme and both men's and women's rugby players will now have their chance to shine on the world's biggest sporting stage.

Following three successful IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup competitions across the 2011/12 season, the focus for the women is now on the Olympic Games having seen the success of London.

"It is amazing to be here, there are so many people and it is a great atmosphere," said Netherlands' Tessa Veldhuis during an event in the Olympic Park to mark the countdown to Sevens' inclusion in the Games.

"It just makes you think you really want to be a part of Rio in 2016. It is too amazing for words to even consider being an Olympian, but I really want to be there.

"I can dream about it every night and being here in London has really inspired me to work and train hard for the next four years to make that a reality.

"Rugby Sevens will bring a lot of excitement for the fans. Everyone is getting fitter and stronger, it is a short, fast game and people will really love it."

The Netherlands reached the final of the third IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup at the London Sevens, and had the sport been involved in London 2012 would have been one of the medal contenders.

England, who defeated the Netherlands in that final to win their second Challenge Cup, would have also been tipped to add to Team GB's best ever medal haul and one of their stars Jo Watmore is in agreement with Veldhuis.

"I have loved every minute of the Olympics and definitely have Olympic fever," added Watmore.

"It will be fantastic for Sevens to be part of the Games, although it seems surreal as a Rugby player to say we can be part of an Olympic athlete team - but we are looking forward to it and hopefully I can be there.

"It will be a massive opportunity (to be an Olympian) and one I would grab with both hands. It is another great platform for women's rugby too and I am very excited for 2016 and RIo."