With women’s rugby on a high following approval of the World Rugby Women’s Plan 2017-25, the reward for the winning team will be a place at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Thailand Sri Lanka and UAE compete in what is the first-ever women’s qualifier for a Youth Olympic Games.
Rugby made its debut at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in 2014 when the sport captured the imagination of the public, media and athletes alike, proving popular across the competition days.
Speaking at the event to further outline details relating to the Women’s Plan, launched last week, World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “It is fitting that the first women’s Youth Olympic Games rugby sevens qualifier should take place in Asia, a trialblazer for women in rugby.
“Asia is at the forefront of promoting and accelerating women in rugby as the first region to nominate a female representative to the World Rugby Council under our transformational reform.
“It is also a leader on the field with nearly half of the 610,000 new Get Into Rugby participants in Asia in 2016 being girls and 12 teams in action in this competition, including Iran and India.
“The event promises to be superb and totally reflects the ambitions of our 2017-25 Women’s Plan which provides a blueprint to accelerate women in rugby globally.”
World Rugby General Manager of Women’s Katie Sadleir added: “These are exciting, ground-breaking times for women in rugby and the Asia region should be commended for their vision and dedication to growing opportunities for women and girls at all levels.
“We are looking forward to working in partnership with Asia Rugby to develop sustainable competition and development pathways, but also to accelerate leadership positions for women in our sport, so it is great to see Ada Milby leading the way as the first female Council member under the recent reforms.”
Ross Mitchell, General Manager for Asia Rugby, said: “These are indeed exciting times for women’s rugby. Asia Rugby has always been committed to gender equity and has even mandated inclusion for Exco representation as part of our constitution.”
Asia Rugby’s World Rugby Council Member Ada Milby stated: “I am delighted and honoured to be here in Dubai for this launch. This surely emphasises the importance of women’s rugby to the game and its growth worldwide.”