Fi­jians Help In Lift­ing Rugby To New 7S Heaven

Fiji Sun - - Comment - OSEA BOLA Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

Fiji will be el­e­vated to a new sta­tus as a coun­try and as a rugby na­tion pro­vided we main­tain our cham­pion sta­tus in the shorter form of the sport post Rio 2016.

The im­pact of rugby union’s in­clu­sion in this year’s Olympics in Brazil will have a greater im­pact on the game than last year’s World Cup in Eng­land. And lead­ing the race for the sec­ond year-in-a row in the World Sevens Se­ries, Fiji will be el­e­vated to a new sta­tus as a coun­try and as a rugby na­tion pro­vided we main­tain our cham­pion sta­tus in the shorter form of the sport post Rio 2016. That is one of the con­clu­sions made in The Fu­ture

of Rugby, a re­port com­mis­sioned by HSBC- spon­sor of the World Sevens Se­ries- to look at the dif­fer­ence that sevens, will have in the next decade.

The re­port es­ti­mates that since rugby union’s re­turn to the Olympics was an­nounced in 2009, £20m (FJ$60.61m) has been in­vested in the sport by na­tional Olympic com­mit­tees. And there is no doubt that Olympics will trans­form the image of rugby to a new di­men­sion and coun­tries will start to take the sport more se­ri­ously – and fund­ing and Gov­ern­ment support will in­crease. And we should be proud of tak­ing a lead role in mak­ing the 7s rugby pop­u­lar over the years. It’s sel­dom done, but we made the world take no­tice by declar­ing Pub­lic Hol­i­day to cel­e­brate our 7s vic­to­ries on the global stage. It first started in the 1990’s and it’s be­com­ing an on­go­ing trend. Sevens rugby leg­end Waisale Serevi made spe­cial ref­er­ence to the Fi­jians’ ob­ses­sion with the sport when he cam­paigned for 7s in­clu­sion in the global show­piece, on be­half of World Rugby, to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee in Sin­ga­pore in 2009. With the ex­tra push from World Rugby pro­mot­ing the suc­cess of the World Sevens Se­ries, the IOC took no­tice and voted on 7s rugby in­clu­sion in the Olympics.

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