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IOC backs a winner in Rugby Sevens

11-25-2010 13:51 BJT Special Report:Guangzhou Asian Games |

Guangzhou, November 24 - The three-day Rugby Sevens Competition of the 16th Asian Games came to an end on Tuesday, and certainly whet the appetite for the bigger contests to come - notably the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Judging by the raucous enthusiasm of the crowd at University Town Main Stadium, the International Olympic Committee has backed a winner by including Seven-a-side Rugby, along with golf, at the Olympics in Brazil.

The reaction of the spectators told the story of each match: a roar when a player broke free and sprinted to the line; a collective grimace when a player was halted by a shuddering tackle; a groan of anguish when a try-scoring opportunity went begging due to a dropped pass.

Kazakhstan's Svetlana Klyuchnikova celebrates her gold medal in Women's
Rugby.

With the matches lasting only seven minutes each half, the programme ticked along smoothly for both men's and women's events, and over the course of the competition individual players emerged due to their speed, power or just all-round rugby skills.

There were also a few shocks around, too, notably when Kazakhstan beat China 17-14 to win the women's gold medal.

A few months ago, when the Asian Women's Rugby Sevens Championship was held as a test event at the stadium, China had galloped to victory over the Central Asians, and after that particular game the Kazakhs thought it would be "impossible" to beat China in the near future. But now they had the gold medals, after a last-gasp China try had been ruled out.

"In the last minute I thought we had lost and I was so angry," said Kazakhstan's Svetlana Klyuchnikova. "Then the referee said it was a forward pass and suddenly we had won the gold medal.

"Our target was to win gold or silver because we have been losing to China for the last three or four years. We thought we had no chance so we just tackled and tackled and tackled. Our No. 10 (Lyudmila Sherer) made the difference because she is faster than the rest of us. We are slower than the China team, but she runs as fast as a Chinese girl."

When asked if the Kazakh players would celebrate their gold medal with a small bottle of vodka, Svetlana replied: "No - big, big, big!"

In the men's final, Japan showed great discipline and ball retention skills to hold off Hong Kong, China 28-21, despite the Japanese having a player sent off midway through the second half for a dangerous tackle.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: ocasia.org

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