Today marks one year to go until the Youth Olympic Games 2018 gets underway in Buenos Aires and World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustin Pichot can't wait for the next chapter in rugby sevens' Olympic story to take place in his hometown.
Australia's women and France's men claimed the rugby sevens' gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in 2014 and Pichot expects the 2018 edition to be even more competitive.
“Knowing that we are one year away from the Youth Olympic Games in my city of Buenos Aires is a wonderful feeling as I am sure that it will be a great period for the young boys and girls competing in every sport, and because of the huge legacy for the city and the country,” said Pichot.
“I was lucky enough to have been asked to work with World Rugby in 2009 when our sport was accepted back as a competition sport and a few years later, when Buenos Aires was selected to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, I was in the team that travelled with current president Mauricio Macri for the final bid presentation.
“It has proven the absolute correct decision to align our sport to the Olympic family and the way we have grown in every territory thanks to our participation in Rio last year has been astronomical.
A huge step-up
“After a low-key debut for rugby at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing three years ago, this second time will be a huge step-up. I am sure that we will have a full ground for each of the rugby playing days as fans will buy into the Games and, of course, to rugby. The interest from teams to come and participate is huge.
“Argentina, having lost that first final in Nanjing, will have a very good team. My good friend and Pumas Sevens head coach Santiago Gómez Cora has been working with U18 Sevens coach Lucas Borges, scouting the country last year and now working with the aspiring players to prepare the team.
“We have high hopes for them, although the Youth Olympic Games is as much about playing as about the cultural and social opportunities for participants.
“The countdown to the start of the Youth Olympic Games 2018 will be closely followed by us rugby lovers in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the world. We are heading into exciting times.”
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