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Aussie women's captain centre of rugby push for Olympics

16 June 2009

Australian women's rugby sevens captain Cheryl Soon says Olympic officials clapped and cheered a presentation from the sport as it seeks readmission to the 2016 Games.

The World Cup-winning skipper has joined International Rugby Board officials in Switzerland lobbying the International Olympic Committee to reinstate the game in the sevens format.

The IOC will make a decision in October about which two new sports to introduce at the 2016 Olympics. Baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash are in contention.

"I think the reception we received was very good," Soon said.

"There were board members clapping and cheering."

Soon was part of a six-person IRB delegation which took part in the high level talks.

"We wanted to let them know about the speed, the excitement and the inclusiveness of sevens rugby, and in how many countries around the world the game is played," she said.

The Australian star said an Olympic berth would help the women's game grow.

"We want to play alongside the world's top athletes competing at the highest levels of their sports. It would be an absolute privilege to do so," she said.

Pierre de Coubertin introduced rugby into the Olympics in 1900 and it continued to be played at the 1908, 1920 and 1924 Games.

The first Wallabies won gold in 1908 in London, beating Cornwall (representing England) in the final. The united States are the current defending champions having won in 1924 with former Wallaby Daniel Carrol in their side.

Lisa Martin

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