The Welsh Rugby Union has welcomed the decision to introduce Rugby Sevens into the Olympic Games from 2016 as a major boost for sport in Wales.
The International Olympic Committee has voted in favour of including Sevens at the Rio De Janeiro games.
It means that Wales’ top men and women Rugby Sevens players will now be able to compete for places in UK squads which compete to bring the gold medals back to Britain.
The WRU’s Head of Rugby Performance and Development, Joe Lydon, said: “This is an important day in Welsh rugby history and certainly delivers a major boost to our Rugby Sevens ambitions.
“We are currently the world champions and this will ensure our players can focus on achieving on that new prize of an Olympic medal.
“The exposure Rugby Sevens will get from inclusion in the Olympics will draw many new people into the sport and that has clear benefits for the whole of Welsh rugby.
“We have an excellent international pathway structure in place here in Wales and now there is this new prize to compete for.
“A lot of people from Wales have striven particularly hard for this day, but I would like to single out the late Colin Hillman who worked tirelessly for Sevens rugby and would have been delighted at the decision taken today.”
The WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: “This is an historic day for world rugby and the game here in Wales.
“We have already decided to focus hard on the Sevens game because it is such an key component of our elite structures.
“We are the world champions and within our new Participation Agreement with the four Regions Sevens Rugby is recognised as a priority for our best young players.
“In Wales we have the talent to compete with the best at Sevens and the lure of involvement in the 2016 Rio games will focus many of our youngsters on achieving the Olympic dream through rugby.”