Newest sport set to make Olympic debut in Rio
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Rugby Canada named the 12 athletes nominated to represent Team Canada in women’s rugby sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5 to 21.
The 12 athletes selected include Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams.
The team is coached by John Tait and Sandro Fiorino.
Rugby Canada player Maria Samson, who co-hosts WiSP World Canada, commented on team selection: “I’m eager to see what the girls can do in Rio after securing third place in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, finishing with a cup win at the Clermont Sevens. Canada plays an exciting style of rugby and I know they will not disappoint with players such as Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Kayla Moleschi being constant workhorses on the pitch.
“As a competitor, my heart goes out to the girls left off the list in this last round of cuts, notably Elissa Alarie, Julia Greenshields Magali Harvey, Sara Kaljuvee and Nadia Popov. They are the unsung heroes who pushed the Olympic squad to their limits and made it very difficult for the coaches to make final selections.”
Canada sealed its spot in the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens tournament with its second place finish on the 2014-15 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.
After winning gold at last year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada finished third on the 2015-16 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series and concluded the season with a cup win at the Clermont Sevens.
Canada will continue its pre-Olympic preparations on Vancouver Island at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence as well as the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE). On July 26, an Olympic media celebration and Rio sendoff will take place at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
The women’s rugby sevens Olympic tournament takes place at Deodoro Stadium, August 6-8.