UAE to make rugby debut at 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia in August
Apollo Perelini is set to lead the UAE into their first Asian Games.
The UAE will make their rugby sevens bow at the Asian Games later this year, taking place in Indonesia, where the official draw for the tournament took place on Thursday.
Eleven men’s and eight women’s sides will be involved at the 2018 Asian Games, taking place from August 18-September 2.
The sevens tournament will be held over three days from August 30-September 1 at the Wibawa Mukti Stadium, Bekasi.
The draw was conducted by Asia Rugby general manager for Ross Mitchell, in Jakarta.
The UAE will feature in a three-team Pool C alongside Sri Lanka and South Korea.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Hong Kong head Pool A alongside China, Thailand and Pakistan. Following their recent qualification to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Japan top Pool B and will face Chinese Taipei, Indonesia and Malaysia.
There are just two pools in the women’s competition, and China, also recent qualifiers for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, top Pool A. They are joined by Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.
Japan, who were relegated from the women’s series, are set to play Kazakhstan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Mitchell said: “We are all excited about the upcoming competition in Indonesia.
“It was a very well run draw and the host nation took a collective gasp when both the men and women’s teams were drawn.
“It is all shaping up to be a great tournament, and a competitive one that will further enhance the growth of rugby in Asia.”
The 2018 Asian Games will be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang, after Vietnam capital Hanoi, the original host, withdrew due to financial constraints.
It is the first time the Asian Games are being co-hosted in two cities, with Jakarta hosting for the first time since 1962.
Events will be held in and around the two cities, including venues in Bandung and the province of West Java.
Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
Rugby union and sevens has featured at the Asian Games since 1998, with South Korea winning the first two tournaments in both disciplines. Sevens has been played exclusively since 2006, with Japan coming in as the three-time defending champions.
In Incheon four years ago they beat Hong Kong 24-12.