August 2016 awaits one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles - the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games.
The Women’s Rugby Sevens Tournament will see 12 countries compete for the Gold Medal in the suburb of Deodoro. One automatic qualification place will go to the host team, Brazil. For the remaining 11 spots available, the road to Rio has a few different pathways that will determine who will receive a place in the Olympic Tournament.
The first path in the qualification process is the 2014/15 Women’s Sevens World Series. At the conclusion of the World Series in May 2015 in Amsterdam, the top four ranked teams will qualify directly a quota place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
With two tournaments in London and Amsterdam remaining, New Zealand leads the standings with a perfect 80 points. Canada lies second with 58 points and Australia third with 56 points. France is fourth with 52 points with the USA and England both four points outside of the top four in fifth and sixth place respectively.
With Australia currently third, they are in a strong position to qualify automatically though admittedly there is still a lot of hard work to do following indifferent tournaments in Atlanta and Langford.
Teams that do not achieve a top four ranking through the 2014/15 Women’s Sevens World Series will need to win their respective 2015 Regional Association Women’s Sevens Championships between 1 June 2015 and 31 December 2015. The teams that have already qualified for the Olympic Games will not be eligible to compete in the Regional Qualification tournaments.
This tournament will take place in Auckland in November.
There are six total quota qualification places available, one per region: Africa (CAR), Asia (ARFU), Europe (FIRA-AER), North America and the Caribbean (NACRA), Oceania (FORU) and South America (CONSUR).
If Australia is unable to maintain its top four ranking through the 2014/15 Women’s Sevens World Series, they would need to subsequently win the Oceania (FORU) Regional Women’s Sevens Championships to receive a qualification place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
New Zealand is currently the only team other than Australia from the Oceania region that is ranked in the top four in the World Series. If New Zealand maintains a top four ranking, then they will not be eligible to participate in the Oceania (FORU) Regional Women’s Sevens Championships.
Should Australia not receive a qualification place through the Regional Tournament but achieve a top three placing, then they will participate in the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament for the final spot in the Olympic Games. This tournament will take place between January 2016 and 30 June 2016 (final date confirmation will be made by 30 November 2015).
The best ranked teams from each 2015 Regional Tournament will be invited to participate, 16 in total: Africa (3 teams), Asia (3 teams), Europe (4 teams), North America and the Caribbean (2 teams), Oceania (2 teams), and South America (2 teams). Teams that have already qualified for the Olympic Games will not be eligible to participate in this tournament.
Only the winner of this Final Olympic Qualification Tournament will receive the final qualification place to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.