#Barbados #Rugby in Youth #Olympic #Qualifiers

For the first time in Olympic history, Barbados will be represented at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on March 1-2, 2018.

Rugby Sevens made a very successful debut at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the sport has seen explosive growth worldwide since then, including the very successful Rugby Barbados World 7s in December 2016 and 2017.

The players and administrators are knee-deep in preparation for this international tournament. Both males and females will be representing Barbados in Las Vegas, and the young athletes have been training hard for the last several months, to ensure their best performance in the upcoming trials. The players are all ages 17-18 and will be facing stiff competition from regional rivals USA, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and Trinidad.

The Get Into Rugby programme (under the auspices of the Barbados Rugby Football Union and World Rugby) has been successfully introduced into 22 local schools at both primary and secondary level. GIR Coordinator Kevyn Murrell says that the players are dedicated and extremely enthusiastic about the upcoming competition.

Coach Kevin Cobham had this to say: “The junior girls and boys 7s teams are improving every week and I’m confident that they will represent the island well. When we found out that some of our best players are not eligible to travel due to an age restriction the players and coaches alike were heart-broken because we all knew the amount of time and effort that went in to their preparation. We had several challenges getting to this point but a massive team effort by parents, players and coaches alike is what is making this trip possible. This is one of the most positive and dedicated groups of juniors I’ve ever coached.

The average attendance per player is above 80% and even those who are not eligible to travel due to the age restriction are still attending practice sessions and matches. We have a good mix of powerful runners in the forwards and speed in the backs and we plan to utilize both in our game plan. We have some new additions to the girls team and they’ve slotted right in seamlessly. The skill level of the tournament will be high but the juniors have been training twice a week on skills and one day per week on strength and conditioning to ensure that they are physically ready for the weekend of 7s rugby in Las Vegas. Barbados Rugby has a bright future with these young male and female rugby players and I am excited to see how they do in this tournament and other tournaments down the road.”

Success at this qualifier will lead to participation in the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2018.

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