Gold Coast 2018 will give women the opportunity to compete in rugby sevens for the first time in Commonwealth Games history, it was confirmed here today.
Women's rugby sevens was initially announced on the Gold Coast 2018 sports programme in June when the Commonwealth Games Federation approved the sports programme and master venue plan ahead of the Games.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) are now giving the inclusion of the sport an added pushed in sight of the Gold Coast Rugby Sevens event at the Robina Stadium this weekend (October 11 and 12).
"Since the last Commonwealth Games programme in Glasgow was announced, women's Rugby Sevens has gone from strength-to-strength, with the IRB (International Rugby Board) introducing the IRB Women's Sevens World Series for the 2012/13 season," said ARU chief executive Bill Pulver.
"Our men's team have been wonderful ambassadors for rugby sevens since the sport's introduction to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
"As members of any Commonwealth Games squad - past and present - will testify, the atmosphere surrounding the Games is truly unique and we believe this news will truly leave a lasting legacy for women's Rugby in Australia."
The 2013-2014 season was a breakthrough one for Australia as they won a first ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series event in Dubai.
The Australian women's team also ran out on top at the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games.
The addition of women at Gold Coast 2018 is hoped to build on this progress, with Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey also believing its inclusion to be a huge boost to the sports programme.
"Women's sevens is just as fast and competitive as the men's competition and I have no doubt it will attract great attention and provide the crowds with truly world class sporting action at Robina Stadium in April 2018," she said.
The confirmation comes at an exciting time for rugby sevens in Australia.
Statistics have shown that 15,864 more people participated in rugby sevens in 2013 compared to 2012, an increase of 40.7 per cent, bringing the total number of participants in the sport nationally to a record 54,687.
There is currently no Women's World Series event staged in the Oceania region meaning the inclusion of the sport at Gold Coast 2018 will give a unique opportunity to see the explosive Australian team in competitive action live on home soil.
As with the men's competition, the women will play at the 27,400-seater Robina Stadium, home of the men's Gold Coast Sevens event.
In celebration of the announcement, Australia's women's rugby sevens side will play a three-match exhibition tournament against Canada as part of the Gold Sevens event due to be held this weekend,
Following the news IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB has been a champion of the inclusion of Women's Sevens in the Commonwealth Games and today's decision is fantastic news for players and fans of what is one of the world's fastest-growing team sports."
"Rugby Sevens is one of the must-see Commonwealth Games events with its winning blend of highly-competitive action, star players and festival atmosphere, reflected at Glasgow 2014 where a world-record crowd for Rugby Sevens of 171,000 were thrilled by an incredible two-day event."
"We can now also look forward with great excitement to an historic Gold Coast Sevens where Australia will welcome the top women's players from Commonwealth nations alongside their male counterparts."
Australian women's rugby sevens star Charlotte Caslick added, "I must admit I was a bit jealous seeing our men's team going over to take part at the Games in Glasgow earlier this year.
"The atmosphere surrounding the Commonwealth Games looked absolutely incredible on the TV and something I hope to be a part of in 2018.
"The fact the Games are being held in my home state is a wonderful bonus, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a wider Australian team on home soil."
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