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Rugby a step closer to the Olympics

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The Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) will include rugby as a participation sport for the first time in the 2011 Pan American Games, a boost to rugby’s attempts to be included on the Olympic roster.

The inclusion of Rugby – in the sevens form – in the Pan American Games follows meetings between the IRB and PASO representatives over the last few weeks and a presentation made by PARA Chairman (Pan American Rugby Association) and IRB Council Member, Carlos Tozzi, to the PASO General Meeting.

The IRB believes the decision by PASO will further strengthen Rugby’s case for its reintroduction within the Olympic Games sporting programme.

“The IRB is delighted that PASO has recognised the tremendous attraction and value of Rugby and has elected to include the sport within the programme for the 2011 Pan America Games. This is another exciting development for Rugby Sevens which continues to go from strength to strength and has a proven track record of success at most major international multi-sport championships,” said IRB Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.

“The final day of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Sevens Rugby competition in Melbourne was played in front of a world record, single day, Rugby Sevens crowd of over 50,000 people as the Telstra Dome was completely sold out. I am sure that Rugby Sevens will prove a successful addition to the Pan America Games.”

Sevens continues to swell with popularity, attracting record crowds, and soon there will be a ladies’ tournament as well, with the first one planned for Dubai in 2009.

In a statement released on Friday, the IRB registered its delight at the decision, and pledged to keep growing the sport in the Americas.

“The IRB remains totally committed to Rugby’s reintroduction as part of the Olympic Games sporting calendar,” it read.

“The IRB continues to be present at IOC sessions, including last week’s meeting in Guatemala.

“Rugby’s showpiece tournament, the IRB Rugby World Cup, is now firmly established as the world’s third largest sporting event with two million tickets now sold for the tournament, while an expected global audience of 4bn people will watch the tournament on television around the world in over 200 countries.

 

365 Digital

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