Trinidad and Tobago's national men and women rugby 7s teams are in contention to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will travel to the USA to participate in the North America and Caribbean region Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification tournament .
The North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) has announced that the Triangle Sports Commission has been selected to serve as the local host of the 2015 NACRA Sevens rugby tournament on June 13-14, which will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
This event will serve as the regional qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Triangle Sports Commission, based in Cary, is one of only 10 United States Olympic Committee Community Olympic Partner organizations, and, as such, has a significant focus on supporting major Olympic and amateur sports events and activities.
“To be able to host this international qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio Olympic Games is quite a coup for the region,” said Hill Carrow, CEO of the Triangle Sports Commission. “It gives us the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Olympic participation and competition with one of the fastest growing sports in the world. In addition, this tournament will enable us to outfit WakeMed Soccer Park permanently to host major rugby events, which expands the capabilities of the park and can lead to additional long-term positive economic benefits for the area. For those of us involved with the initial plan and funding for WakeMed, as well as the recent expansion of the venue, that aspect is particularly exciting.”
The initial round of qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games – the first Olympiad to include Rugby Sevens on the Games Program – will result from the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series (men’s) and 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The top four teams from each Series will qualify for the Olympics (in addition to Brazil, which automatically qualifies as the host country).
The United States Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens National Teams remain in contention to qualify for Rio 2016 in their respective Series, with the men sitting in ninth place after three of nine tournaments and the women in seventh with five tournaments remaining.
National teams that do not qualify through the Series will participate in regional qualifiers around the world, to include the NACRA Sevens in June. The top finisher from both the men’s and women’s bracket will join the Series qualifiers on their way to the Olympics.
“In light of the continued growth and popularity of rugby throughout the NACRA region and with this year’s Series also being the qualification tournament for Rio 2016, it is important that such an event be held at a high quality venue with strong local partners in order to showcase rugby sevens,” NACRA Chief Operations Officer Niall Brooks said. “WakeMed, together with the Triangle Sports Commission leading the Local Organizing Committee, fulfills this criteria and I am sure all teams, players, officials, and spectators are looking forward to a successful and thoroughly enjoyable sevens tournament.”
WakeMed Soccer Park, venue for the Qualifier, is home to the North American Soccer League’s Carolina Railhawks. The 150-acre complex in Cary, N.C., contains a 10,000-seat natural grass stadium with two additional championship fields, and multiple practice fields on site.