Kazakhstan Rugby Federation announced the Kazakhstan Women’s Rugby sevens squad that will contest the Tokyo Olympics repechage.
With 21 of 24 teams already having qualified for the Olympic rugby sevens competition, the remaining two women’s and one men’s teams to participate in Tokyo will be determined at the Stade Louis II in Monaco on 19th and 20th June 2021.
Veteran Balzhan Koishybayeva will captain the side, with the national team coached by Asia Rugby Unstoppable Ambassador Anna Yakovleva. Nurlan Balbarakov, the Union’s Head of International Relations will be the team manager.
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Kazakhstan will face Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and Tunisia in Pool B. The other Asian team, Hong Kong, is in Pool C with France, Colombia and Madagascar. Russia, Argentina, Mexico and Samoa are in Pool A.
Head Coach Anna Yakovleva expressed satisfaction with the squad’s preparation for the tournament “We prepared for this tournament with two major training camps in the mountains in the south of Kazakhstan and were able to improve the team’s overall physical conditioning and technique”.
She added, “We were also able to hold a camp in Poland at the Olympic Center of Poland, which allowed us to play test matches against the Poland national team, giving us the much-needed match experience that we were lacking.”
“I expect the team to give it their best. It’s a tough competition with some very good teams but I hope we will compete for one of the two spots for a ticket to the Olympics” she concluded.
Team Manager Nurlan Balbarakov confirmed that the team will be travelling to Monaco on the 13th of June. “Due to Covid pandemic restrictions, we will be in isolation at the hotel till 14th June. After receiving the results of PCR tests we will be allowed to proceed with training sessions.”
He commented “we have run some fruitful training camps so we will try to do our best. We are looking forward to a good performance by our ladies in Monaco insha’Allah.”
Kazakhstan Women’s 7s team schedule:
11:15 Kazakhstan v Jamaica
17:00 Kazakhstan v Tunisia
11:47 Papua New Guinea v Kazakhstan
Hong Kong Women’s 7s team schedule:
14:30 Hong Kong v Columbia
19:31 Hong Kong v Madagascar
12:31 France v Hong Kong
The top two teams in each pool, plus the two third-placed teams with the highest point totals, will qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
As there are two Olympic qualification slots available for women, the repechage will feature two rounds of knockout games with the final round featuring four teams competing in two matches wherein both winners will gain Olympic qualification.
The new Kazakhstan Rugby President, Aigul Jartybayeva, is a legendary former national team player and was named among the Asia Rugby top 80 Unstoppables. Jartybayeva played at the 1998 Rugby World Cup in Amsterdam, where the team finished ninth. She was also a member of the Kazakh squad that finished 11th in Barcelona in 2002.
She was part of the team that won the Asia Rugby Women’s 7s Series in Hong Kong in 2000 and defended the title in 2001, earning the honour of being named player of the latter tournament.
Jartybayeva said “the whole of Kazakhstan supports our team in the upcoming rugby event in Monaco. We wish them the best of luck. No matter what, we are proud of them for their hard work.”
Kazakhstan Women’s 7s squad:
Diana ABISHEVA, Alina ASKEROVA, Mariya GRISHINA, Daiana KAZIBEKOVA, Balzhan KOISHYBAYEVA, Galina KRASSAVINA, Nigora NURMATOVA, Vlada ODNOLETOK, Veronika STEPANYUGA, Darya TKACHYOVA, Lyudmila SHERER, Kundyzay BAKTYBAYEVA (C)