Women’s Rugby Sevens team going all the way to Rio
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Seven more Australian women may bring gold home from the Rio Olympics, with women's rugby sevens to become an official sport of the summer games for the first time in 2016.
And with the team already a strong candidate for climbing up the Rio medal tally, the team's captain Rebecca Tavo is hoping that sponsors may also be keen to get involved in the future.
That possibility may be a little closer now that the Australian Rugby Union is looking to address how it works with women – through governance reform, promoting female athletes in its game, and by forming a partnership with UN Women Australia – officially launched at the inaugural UN Women Rugby Australia lunch in Sydney on Friday.
The ARU, which has long been accused of lagging behind the other codes when it comes to appointing women to its board, appointed its first female board member, Ann Sherry, in July.
At the lunch, Senator Kate Lundy said Olympic sports that have issues with diversity at the governance level could "take a leaf out of Rugby's book". And she wished the women's seven team the best of luck for their Rio preparation.
ARU managing director and CEO John O'Neill said he hopes to see Sevens become an accessible way for women to get involved playing the games and believes Australia's in for success in Rio. "We will come away with two gold medals," he said.
Tavo said during a panel session that she's not in a position to train fulltime for the Rio Olympics – given she's working two weeks on and two weeks off as a train driver for BHP Billiton (the first female to forge such a career with BHP) – but that life's a little easier now the sport receives official funding, and now that the team has the opportunity to meet once a month at the Australian Institute of Sport.