Call of duty

Cathy Wong after the announcement of her World Rugby Council membership at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

Cathy Wong after the announcement of her World Rugby Council membership at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

SPORTS administrator and Team Fiji chef de mission to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Cathy Wong has become the first Fijian and Oceania woman to be elected into the World Rugby Council (WRC).

This was announced by the president of Oceania Rugby, Richard Sapias at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

“Cathy’s appointment will give women’s rugby in the Oceania a louder voice to share the work that our member unions are doing to increase participation and involvement at all levels of the game,” Sapias said.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has increased the number of people who sit on the council — World Rugby’s highest decision-making body — from 32 to 49, with the 17 new representatives to be women.

“This decision by the World Rugby Council to increase the number of people to sit on the council has now resulted in an additional seat for Oceania Rugby,” Sapias said.

“Cathy, together with Aloma Johansson of Tonga, were appointed as independent women’s directors of Oceania Rugby in 2016.

“It is our first step towards ensuring that women have a voice at the highest level of decision-making in our region.”

Wong echoed the sentiment.

“I am really honoured to be considered sitting on a council such as World Rugby.

“This has taken a long journey and for me it’s what we call the pinnacle where you sit on the board and make policies and set direction.

“This appointment will strengthen the recognition of women as board directors and the value women bring into boards.

“It recognises the importance that World Rugby has placed women in the highest level of governance in rugby, the contribution we bring to the table and our contribution towards building an inclusive model of decision-making.

“I see this as a major breakthrough in changing the mind-set that women can be the best at whatever they choose to be.

“I am honoured and thankful for this achievement.”

The reform will give the 11 unions and six regional associations, who have an additional vote, but no additional representative, the right to send an additional representative to the council subject to that person being woman.