Rugby sevens campaign to be included in the 2016 Olympics has received a boost after it was confirmed that there were no positive drugs tests at the World Cup in Dubai earlier this year.
The historic three-day tournament, which featured a 16-team women’s competition for the first time running alongside the 24-team men’s event and was won by Wales with Australia taking the women's crown, promoted the International Rugby Board's (IRB) Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean programmes, developed in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Tim Ricketts, the IRB's anti-doping manager, said: “The unprecedented tournament testing programme was the most comprehensive ever run for a sevens rugby tournament and one of the biggest ever undertaken by the IRB.
“In addition to 80 controls taken In Competition during RWC Sevens 2009, a programme of 759 tests were conducted throughout the qualification process and the IRB Sevens World Series over a 14-month period leading up to the Dubai tournament in March.
"The programme included 442 Out of Competition Tests on the top 24 ranked men’s Sevens teams.”
Uale Mai (pictured), the Samoa sevens captain and IRB Keep Rugby Clean ambassador, said: “I am very pleased that Rugby World Cup Sevens has been declared a clean tournament.
"International competition is the pinnacle of our sport and represents the very best the Game has to offer, so it is essential for the integrity and perception of sevens that we return a clean competition.”
At the Rugby World Cup 2007 in France, the IRB conducted blood tests for the first time with the programme also returning a clean record.
The IRB Keep Rugby Clean campaign will again be an integral part of the IRB Junior World Championship, which is currently taking place in Japan, with players and officials sporting a ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ t-shirt on June 17 to pledge their support to the campaign.
Rugby sevens is one of seven sports hoping to be chosen be part of the Olympic programme in 2016.
The others are baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, softball and squash.
The International Olympic Committee is due to announce which two will be chosen at its Session in Copenhagen in October.