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Kenya and China emerge victorious at World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger in Dubai

Kenya has been a consistent presence in the HSBC SVNS and is aiming to return to the top tier following their relegation last year. They started strong with a victory in Dubai, winning the gold medal in a hard-fought final against Chile, with a score of 12-5. Earlier in the day, Kenya defeated Uruguay 21-5 in the semi-final, while Chile reached the final with a 15-7 win over previously unbeaten Germany.

Uruguay, who will also be showcasing their skills at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 alongside Kenya, claimed the bronze medal with a 12-7 victory over Germany, after suffering a defeat in the semi-final.

In the women’s competition, China secured gold with a 19-5 win over Kenya in the final, avenging their previous loss to Kenya with a score of 17-12 in the pool match. China cruised into the final after defeating Uganda 45-5 in the semi-final, while Kenya saw off Argentina 17-0 in the second semi-final. Argentina claimed the bronze medal with a 36-10 win over Uganda.

Kenya co-captain Tony Omondi expressed his happiness after the victory, praising the women’s team and emphasizing the importance of maintaining the momentum throughout the tournament. China women’s player Chen Keyi also expressed pride in their performance and team effort, emphasizing the physicality of the game and the importance of learning and winning in future tournaments.

In this year’s Challenger, the competition has been expanded to three rounds with the top four placed men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the new promotion and relegation play-off competition at the HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final in Madrid.

Nigel Cass, World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer, commended the competitiveness and global growth of rugby sevens during the Challenger in Dubai and anticipated the next round in Montevideo. He also highlighted the importance of the Challenger tournaments in boosting the development of rugby sevens across the globe.

The Challenger tournaments replicate the Olympic Games competition format, with the 12 teams drawn into three pools of four teams each. The top two from each pool as well as the two best third-placed finishers will qualify for the knockout stages with quarter-finals.

The Challenger was introduced in February 2020 to boost the development of rugby sevens across the globe and provide a clear promotion pathway to reach the top level of global rugby sevens for the short format of the game. The 2024 edition of the Challenger consists of three rounds, with the next round taking place in Montevideo, Uruguay, followed by events in Krakow, Poland and Munich, Germany.

Fans can watch the action on RugbyPass.TV.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Rugby.

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