Kat Merchant played at the San Diego 7s and World Cup 7s last season. She was a leading try scorer for England's at the recent Nations Cup, which saw her side crowned champions at the event in Canada.
Having rugby 7s in the Olympics will be amazing, as the worlds best rugby players will get the chance to compete on the worlds greatest stage. Along with the rest of the England team I am delighted at the decision and pleased that the Olympic board have recognised how perfect 7s is for the Olympics with it being such a fast paced, exciting and skilful game.
Last season was a great year for 7s, with so many tournaments and then the first ever womens rugby World Cup 7s. As part of the England team I got to compete in San Diego 7s, playing teams from Japan to Canada, and then beating the USA in a very tense final in front of thousands of spectators.
The main event of the season was of course the Rugby World Cup 7s and that was what we were building up to all season. The amount of hours we spent dedicated to training required a lot of commitment and motivation, but it was all worth it.
We trained together so often that we became a very close knit squad, which is so important in 7s as you need to be able to play off each other and know exactly what each player will do and how they will react in different situations.
Our trainers and coaches put us through our paces with some very tiring fitness sessions and pushed us to our limits with our skill work. Certainly in the last few weeks before the world cup in Dubai I was the fittest I've ever been.
The tournament started well for us on day one with some great team performances. However, on day two we were knocked out in the quarter finals by the eventual winners Australia. I remember feeling so absolutely gutted, but somehow I and the rest of the team worked really well to get ourselves motivated to win the plate competition against Canada in front of 50,000 people.
Because of the disappointment of not winning a World Cup medal, winning an Olympic medal for England would mean everything and I know my teammates feel the same!
Overall though, hopefully with the inclusion of 7s in the Olympics, it will help our sport grow, and enable as many people as possible to experience the fun of playing rugby, from the grass roots level to the very top.
Kat Merchant Biog:
Representative Honours: England, England 7s, England A, England U19s