The Aussie Women's Sevens team have been rewarded for their ongoing success with a $500k increase in funding ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The funding boost was announced as part of a total $122 million injection into national sport for 2017/18, from the pockets of the Australian Sports Commission and the AIS.
The 65 percent increase in funding means the Women's Sevens program will now have a total $1.265 million in funding for 2018.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver welcomed the increase and said it would help drive the team for 2018, with an eye to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."Our Qantas Australian Women's Sevens team have blazed the trail for many generations of young Australian women to chase their Olympic dream, and we could not be prouder of their achievements over the past twelve months in particular," he said.
"Sevens Rugby was a hit at the 2016 Rio Olympics and extremely competitive, with six countries sharing in the medals. Our gold medal was in no small part to the support received from the ASC, as we were able to establish a centralised Sevens program which was a game-changer for the program.
"However, we know that to remain competitive on the field and continue to deliver to the Winning Edge targets, we need to continue to work in partnership with the ASC to invest in both our men's and women's program on the road to Tokyo 2020.
"The additional funding for our Women's Sevens program will assist the team with their Commonwealth Games and World Series campaigns in 2018 and is great recognition of their achievements to date, including winning Australia's first team Olympic Gold Medal since 2004."We look forward to continuing to work with the ASC and AIS to ensure that our women's and men's teams are given every opportunity to build on the foundations laid by their 2016 success. We are very thankful for their continued support."
The funding boost news comes as the IOC Executive Board today announced its recommendation to retain all 28 sports from the Rio Olympics for the 2024 Olympic Games.
While this decision will not be made final until an IOC meeting in September, it is a strong sign that Sevens will be a staple in Olympics for the foreseeable future.
“We now await the decision of the IOC Session and continue to be fully committed to the Olympic Charter and the highest standards of anti-doping as we look to what promises to be a spectacular Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and hopefully beyond," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.