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One major, international sports event is so under the radar that, probably, you’re reading about it for the first time in Rugby Today. It’s the second Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Nanjing, China, from August 16 to August 28, 2014 for youth under 18-years old.
For the first time, rugby sevens will be included, as these games mirror the Olympic entries for Brazil in 2016 when rugby makes its return after 92-years (The 1924 gold medal won by the USA.)
In 2012, the first of these YOG summer games, more than 200 countries participated, sending over 3,600 participants. This tournament will certainly surpass that number because, in addition to the standard sports, contestants will also compete in jump rope, baton twirling, marital arts, and cheerleading. (NB: Basketball will be 3 on 3.)
The inclusion of rugby sevens is a further indication of the worldwide proliferation of the popular version of the sport. The venue is the Youth Olympic Sports Park, and the rugby tournament will start August 14 and run to the final on August 18. The USA will send a Boys and a Girls team, the former coached by England sevens legend, Ben Gollings, and the latter by Richie Walker from the USA Olympic Training Center.
(Since Tess Feury from Morris Rugby and the NJ Blaze is the captain of the Girls’ side, her brother Jake Feury [Middlebury] will be reporting from Nanjing, exclusively for this web site.)