Asia Rugby has officially announced the addition of an OCA team to the roster of the Asian Games Men’s Rugby 7s event. This development expands the participation to 13 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams. The Asian Games have a rich history with rugby, having made its debut in 1998 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The decision to incorporate the OCA team emerged with the athletes’ best interests in mind and through close collaboration among key stakeholders. It was a carefully considered move to uphold the fundamental principles of Asia Rugby, Equality, Transparency, and Accountability.
Due to the suspension of Sri Lanka Rugby by World Rugby, the Sri Lanka men’s team are not able to compete at the Asian Games. Considering this, the Asia Rugby Executive Committee made a thoughtful decision to allow Sri Lankan athletes to compete under the OCA flag.
Numerous meetings and discussions were held between Asia Rugby, the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee (NOC SL), and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in Sri Lanka to ensure that these athletes wouldn’t miss out on an event that occurs only once every four years.
The following agreements were reached:- The Sri Lankan athletes will compete under the OCA flag.
– The team will wear the OCA’s colors, which are white, yellow, and orange.
The team will participate in the opening ceremony under the OCA banner and will not be part of any NOC contingent.
In the event that the OCA Rugby 7s team secures a medal, the OCA anthem will be played during the medal presentation.
With regards to the new playing schedule, Asia Rugby carefully considered the level and ability of the athletes who will represent the OCA team and made the decision that the OCA team will join South Korea and Chinese Taipei in group B as a 2nd ranked team and Malaysia will join Hong Kong China and the Philippines in Group A as a 3rd ranked team. Subsequently, Nepal will move to Group D as a 4th-ranked team.
It is worth noting that Asia Rugby has always considered a 13-team playing schedule and Group D was previously identified as the group with 4 teams.
The 19th Asian Games Rugby Sevens event is scheduled to take place from September 24th to 26th at Hangzhou Normal University Cangqian Athletics Field, which is situated 36 kilometres from the Athletes’ Village.