Serevi joins the stars clamouring for Sevens' Olympic inclusion

Serevi joins the stars clamouring for Sevens' Olympic inclusion

The words of Fijian rugby legend Waisale Serevi were left ringing in the ears of Olympic officials following their two-day meeting in Queenstown. Serevi is the latest past or present rugby star to be enlisted by the International Rugby Board to help ensure their campaign to have Sevens become an Olympic medal sport is a success. Jonah Lomu and Lawrence Dallaglio are amongst other legends who have been used to promote ‘the push’ for Olympic inclusion. The Oceania National Olympic Committee started their latest general assembly on Tuesday, including debate on what country would host the 2016 Games and on changes to the sports on offer.

The words of Fijian rugby legend Waisale Serevi were left ringing in the ears of Olympic officials following their two-day meeting in Queenstown.

Serevi is the latest past or present rugby star to be enlisted by the International Rugby Board to help ensure their campaign to have Sevens become an Olympic medal sport is a success. Jonah Lomu and Lawrence Dallaglio are amongst other legends who have been used to promote ‘the push’ for Olympic inclusion.

The Oceania National Olympic Committee started their latest general assembly on Tuesday, including debate on what country would host the 2016 Games and on changes to the sports on offer.

Rugby is in the running, along with baseball, softball, golf, karate, roller-sports and squash. Baseball and softball were earlier voted off the Olympic schedule for the 2012 London Olympics.

"Small nations such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kenya, Argentina and New Zealand would be in with a chance," Serevi said.

Also included in the delegation was the IRB's Kit McConnell, who said rugby was ready for re-integration into the Olympics via Sevens. He tabled figures showing rugby was now played in 116 countries, by three million people.

McConnell added that the recent Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai showed how efficiently a men's and women's tournament could run side-by-side. Previously the International Olympic Committee has shied away from Sevens as there were no top-line international tournaments for women.

The IRB organised a women's World Cup in Dubai partly to appease those feelings. The IOC will vote on the sports in October, at the same time they decide on the hosts for the 2016 Olympics. Front-runners Chicago have already expressed an interest in Sevens rugby.

IOC boss and former Belgium rugby boss Jacques Rogge said on the eve of the Queenstown summit that his rugby roots would have no impact on the IOC's eventual vote on sports for 2016, with the vote set to take place in October. "Let me say very clearly I do not vote," Rogge said.

"I have a lot of sympathy, but I have no vote".