NAIROBI, Kenya, April 30 – International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Bernard Lapasset believes Kenya’s performance in the IRB Sevens circuit will help sevens rugby to be readmitted as an Olympic Sport by 2016.Lapasset who is in the country for Sunday’s final of the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy said that by going toe to toe with series leaders South Africa in the final of the Adelaide Sevens, Kenya had shown how sevens rugby benefits the smaller nations.
“I appreciate the fact that Kenya is now one of the leading countries in sevens rugby. I was in Adelaide where Kenya competed in the final. That is very important for the image of rugby sevens,” said Lapasset.
“All of this happens at a time when rugby is reaching out for Olympic Games re-admittance. This is one of the IRB’s five strategic goals and we anxiously await the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) vote in Copenhagen in October,” he added.
Sevens rugby as well as six other sports are lobbying to be included in the 2016 Olympics.
They include karate, squash, golf, baseball, softball, roller sports and squash.
Lapasset who is being accompanied by Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Abdelaziz Bougja expressed his delight with the way the JWRT tournament was running.
“After the success of the inaugural tournament in Chile last year, with its competitive matches and record crowds, I am delighted that this tournament, successfully hosted by Kenya has already reached those same heights,” said Lapasset.
The former French Rugby Federation (FFR) supremo stated that Africa was the IRB’s new front to develop the game globally and that such tournaments are the vehicles will achieve that goal.
“It’s very important that we hold such events in Africa so that we can involve new people in rugby and I can assure you that the IRB will continue to support this initiative.
Lapasset said that developing special facilities for developing coaches and referees are key if Africa is to progress.
Meanwhile, Peter Ocholla will return to competitive action for the national sevens rugby team at the Tangers Sevens in Morocco.
Coach Benjamin Ayimba indicated that Ocholla was being given a chance to prove his worth before the final two legs of the IRB Sevens series in London and Edinburgh.
Nato Simiyu, Kenya Harlequins winger Leaon Adongo and Naftali Bondo have also been recalled to the team while Wilson K’opondo and Joshua Gtahumbi have been retained from the party which travelled to Hong Kong and Adelaide.