Rugby and Golf voted into 2016 Olympics

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Rugby union

Golf and Rugby sevens have been voted into the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee.

The first Olympic games to feature the sports will be the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Two months ago the IOC executive committee introduced plans to include golf and rugby sevens in the programme for the Games to be held in Brazil. The proposals were approved by the 106 members of the IOC congress.

New Zealand legend, Jonah Lomu and Irish golfer Padraig Harrington attended the final presentations of their respective sports.

Rugby Sevens received a firm backing from the start, but golf has been subject to criticism from some quarters, with many questioning the motives of the IOC for including the sport.

Doubts have been raised over the prestige of an Olympic medal compared to the four golfing majors and the IOC’s ploy to exploit the sport’s major commercial attributes.

Meanwhile the home nations have already agreed upon a British Sevens team: a move which their football counterparts were unable to manoeuvre.

Both sports will be composed of men’s and women’s events. In Golf it is proposed to have a 72-hole stroke play event.  Meanwhile it would be a group and knockout event in the Rugby sevens.

Lomu has spoken of his personal regret at being unable to compete for an Olympic medal in his time. The former All Blacks star won Seven’s Gold medal at the Commonwealth games in 1998.

“I was captivated and I just wish I could have competed for an Olympic gold medal”, said Lomu.

He added: “Sevens certainly has all the right ingredients. It is explosive, exciting, unpredictable and due to its highly-competitive nature, it gives the opportunity for smaller rugby nations to win a medal.”

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