Cape Town - Rugby sevens will make its Olympic Games debut on August 6, 2016 after the Rio 2016 Organising Committee released the daily competition schedule on Wednesday to mark 500 days to go.
The rugby sevens competitions at the Deodoro Sports Complex will be played over six days between August 6-11 with two sessions per day. The session times will be announced in due course.
The world’s top women will be the first rugby players to compete for an Olympic Games medal for 92 years with 12 teams competing over three days with the 12-team men's competition following over the next three days.
The four top teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series log at the end of the season will qualify automatically for Rio. With just four more rounds remaining, South Africa (93 points) have a slender lead at the top of the series standings over rivals New Zealand (88). They are closely followed by Fiji (86) and Australia (71).
South Africa will be looking to consolidate their top spot this coming weekend when they play at the Hong Kong Sevens in China and in next week in Tokyo, Japan.
The South African women, however, face a daunting task to qualify for Rio with three tournaments left in the women’s qualification process. The team is currently in 12th position on the log standings after three rounds.
World Rugby President, Bernard Lapasset, commented: “The announcement is a very exciting and important milestone for rugby fans around the world - it marks the moment when they can begin to plan their Rio 2016 experience in earnest.
“We have worked in close partnership with the IOC, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and other stakeholders to ensure that we have the best-possible schedule for our players which allows them to perform to the best of their abilities as they compete to be the first rugby medallists at the Olympic Games in 92 years.
“Rugby sevens, with its winning blend of high-octane action, close competition and entertainment, is proving a hit with young audiences, broadcasters and commercial partners around the world.
“This is why we believe that Rio will love sevens and we look forward to hosting fans in a vibrant arena at the very heart of the Deodoro complex where fans will experience the dynamic athleticism of our rugby sevens Olympians in a unique festival atmosphere.”
With anticipation building across the rugby community, the global qualification process well underway and rugby sevens continuing to excite, engage and inspire new participants and audiences around the world, demand for tickets over the six days is expected to be high.