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Rio Olympics 2016: Jonah Lomu's Olympic role remembered

Jonah Lomu's role in bringing rugby back to the Olympics has been remembered in Rio.

Former All Blacks great Lomu, who died last November, was a key figure when rugby lobbied the International Olympic Committee for a place for sevens at the Games seven years ago.

It was successful, with the abbreviated game to make its debut with the women's tournament starting on Saturday, followed by the men three days later.

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper says Lomu's presence in the final stage of their bid in Copenhagen in 2009 can't be understated.

"He was a huge player in the team which ensured the sport came into the Olympics," Gosper said.

"That team behaved like a rugby team, they all had different specialists. They came together to do a job and he was a big part of that.

"It's a pity he's not here to see the fruits of his efforts considering his love for sevens."

It was revealed that Lomu played a game of table tennis with then-IOC president Jacques Rogge as Olympic bosses met for the last time to determine rugby's fate.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot says Lomu was the first person he thought of when he touched down in Rio this week and became emotional because the pair were good friends.

Lomu burst onto the international scene at the 1994 Hong Kong sevens tournament.

He became the youngest ever All Black that year and became a global phenomenon with his breath-taking play at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

- AAP

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