South Africa opts not to contest Africa women's 7s for Olympic ticket

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NAIROBI, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- South Africa has given Kenya a major boost announcing they will not send their team to the Tokyo Olympic Games even if they win the Africa women's rugby sevens tournament, which starts on Saturday in Monastir, Tunisia.

The tournament acts as an African qualifier for the Tokyo Olympic Games. South Africa intends to use the tournament as a stepping stone to gauge their preparedness ahead of the World Series core team qualifiers set for Dubai.

"South Africa will only compete for a chance to qualify for the World Series qualifier event. This is after South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee's internal rules not permitting them to qualify for the Olympic Games directly from the African Regional Qualifier tournament," said Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou.

However, Kenyan team head coach Felix Oloo says they intend to crush all the other teams and stamp their authority as the continent's superpowers, securing the lone ticket to the Olympics.

Kenya also will compete in Dubai eyeing the World Series core status ticket and Oloo believes the team is strong enough to capture the Olympic ticket and the core status berth for 2020 season. "Our goal this season to qualify for the Olympics. The girls have worked hard in training. After that we will look at the future competitions and plan according," added Oloo.

"It's unpredictable. Kenya may be the top-ranked side in the tournament as defending champions but we must tread carefully for the two days we will be playing. It is a long term project and even after winning in Tunisia, we still have to fight to break into the world best 16 teams to earn the core status," Oloo said on Wednesday.

The Africa women's rugby sevens tournament has attracted 12 teams with Kenya's national team Lionesses, launching their campaign against Ghana in Pool A, which also has Senegal and Botswana. Pool B features Uganda, the continental silver medalists, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia.

Hosts Tunisia are the frontrunners in Pool C and will battle it out with Morocco, Mauritius, and Madagascar. Enditem

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