altJuly 2 - Gordon Tietjens (pictured), the coach of New Zealand's successful rugby sevens team, has said that the sport is the perfect fit for inclusion in the Olympics.


Tietjens has been in charge of New Zealand's team since 1994 and guided them to gold medals at three consecutive Commonwealth Games.


He said: "I'll always remember the excitement of going to my first Commonwealth Games as a Sevens coach - it was unbelievable.

"There we were, participating in the sport of rugby that we knew and enjoyed so much, but taking part on a different kind of stage and mixing with some of the most elite athletes in the world.


"It was special.

"In Kuala Lumpur in '98, we spent a bit of time with the Australian cricket team, Steve Waugh and people like that, which the guys really enjoyed.


"Then in Manchester in 2002 we met the players from Manchester United football club, David Beckam and also the coach Alex Ferguson, which was great.

"That first Commonwealth Games also brought home for a lot of the players just what an elite athlete looked like, and how they trained.

"Eating together, using the gymnasiums together and rubbing shoulders with the participants at all those different disclipines was an experience and the players loved the challenge that it brought."


Tietjens believes that rugby sevens also brings something to events like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

He said: "Rugby's culture and ideals go hand in hand with these multi-sport games - the hard work ethic, team play, fair play, a hard line on anti-doping, and hopefully that will also give us success in our bid to reach the Olympics.

"Most of all though, I believe Sevens gives rugby players and fans the opportunity to express themselves in a wonderful way.


"It's colourful and fast, you see tries and constant action, the players are true athletes and it's proven to be a major success for the Comm Games in terms of getting people into the stadium, so I think it's ready-made for the Olympics."


Rugby sevens is one of seven sports hoping to be included in the 2016 Olympics when the International Olympic Committee makes its decision at its Session in Copenhagen on October 9.