Hong Kong referee Gabriel Lee appointed to Olympic duty by World Rugby
Hong Kong rugby referee Gabriel LEE Wing Yi has been selected by World Rugby as one of 12 referees for the Women's Rugby Sevens event at the Rio Olympics this summer.She currently referees on the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.
Rugby rejoins the Olympic fold for the first time in 92 years when the three-day women's competition kicks off in the Deodoro Stadium in Rio on 6 August.
Lee represented Hong Kong as a player at both sevens and the fifteen-a-side game, from 1999 to 2007.
She began refereeing in 2005 and took charge of matches at the 2009 and 2013 Women's World Cups, including as referee in the 2009 Cup Final.This has been her greatest achievement to date, she says, but "the Olympics will definitely be bigger".
"As a local referee, I'm really happy to be part of the Olympics.I work here [in Hong Kong], I've grown up here, I've learned all of my rugby and my refereeing here."
In terms of preparation, "I have one women's tournament in May, then in June I'll be a referee in the Women's Repechage and an assistant referee in the Men's Repechage," she explains.
"To get myself ready for the Olympics, I'll be watching videos [of past matches] and improving my fitness. I hope I can referee to the best of my ability."
The appointment continues an upswing in officiating in the local game with the numbers of referees trending upwards said Hugh Watkins, Head of Match Officiating at the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
"Gabby has put in a huge amount of hard work on the training pitch to improve her fitness and has been in top condition for all of the Sevens tournaments she has done. The appointment to the Games is a dream fulfilled for Gabby and she has worked extremely hard at this for the past five years. She has now set a benchmark for all of the referees in Hong Kong to aspire to.
"It is also real pat on the back for the local involvement of the game and we are all extremely proud of Gabby. Officiating at the Olympics, on what will be Rugby Sevens' debut tournament in the Games is an an incredible honour for both Gabby and her family," Watkins added.