Following the announcement in mid August that Rugby 7’s (the exciting abridged version of Rugby Union) had received the endorsement of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Council, the IOC advised that Rugby 7’s would be put forth for a vote by IOC Members on October 9th, for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
This news was heralded as a potential watershed moment for the sport in Canada and around the world. For the athletes competing on Canada’s Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s teams, the news came as tremendous welcome surprise. For administrators with Rugby Canada, it brought an immediate and increased focus on the funding streams for these programs.
Maria Gallo, Captain of the National Women’s Sevens team at the 2009 World Cup, and herself a carded athlete said, “For the first time this year, the men's and women's teams played alongside each other in the IRB Rugby Sevens World Cup and gave us all a sense of what it's like to play in full stadia and in front of passionate fans. I know we would be an inspiration to other girls who could aspire to Olympic success through Rugby".
The opportunity for Canada’s rugby athletes to shine on the world stage has never been greater.
Rugby Canada’s top female and male performers rely on Sport Canada funding to train and compete as world class athletes. With Rugby Sevens set to join the Olympics, it is vital that Sport Canada’s anticipated review of funding for elite rugby players provides enough resources to allow us to win.
Given the substantial growth of rugby in Canada and the opportunity for Olympic success, our young rugby players need greater support to continue Canada’s winning tradition. Now is the time for rugby fans from coast to coast to coast to stand up and ask the federal government to give our athletes the support they need to win. Let Canada’s Minister of Sport know that you want to win by TAKING ACTION to send the message and spread the word.
To learn more about Canadian rugby, please visit www.rugbycanada.ca .
To show your support for Canadian Rugby and the young athletes that represent our country, please visit www.supportrugby.ca .
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS