DUBAI // Rugby sevens has been given the thumbs up for Olympic inclusion following an International Olympic Committee vote last night. Sevens, which was showcased to great effect at the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai last March, was the favourite to make the 2016 schedule along with golf, after Tiger Woods confirmed he would be keen to play at an Olympics on Tuesday. Sevens beat out competition from softball, squash, baseball, karate and roller sports, and much of the credit for the inclusion is being attributed to the successful running of the Sevens World Cup tournament which, crucially for the IOC's decision, was the first to feature a women's event alongside the men.
Golf and sevens will now go to a full 106-member vote in October, where the board's decision is expected to be rubber stamped. Women's boxing has also been announced as an Olympic sport for London 2012. Full 15-a-side Rugby Union was last played at the Olympics in 1924, but this is the first time that the abridged form of the game will be seen on the world's biggest stage. World cup sevens, however, will now be abandoned in light of the IOC's decision.
"The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the rugby family, providing the opportunity for the best men's and women's players in the world to showcase their talent on the world's greatest sporting stage," said Bernard Lapasset, president of the International Rugby Board. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org