Selicia Winiata plays a different role for the Tokyo Olympics

Former Black Ferns star Selicia Winiata has been named as one of three Kiwi sevens referees for the Tokyo Olympics this July.

Selicia Winiata has been selected out of the vast number of referees around the world that are qualified for the Olympic Games set to happen in Tokyo, Japan this July 2021.

The former Black Fern and New Zealand sevens star will take on a different role this year, being a match official rather than playing for the black jersey.

The 34 year old Winiata will officiate the women’s sevens tournament along with with fellow new Zealanders James Doleman and Lauren Jennet for the Tokyo Games as World Rugby appoints them in the referee list.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby I’d like to congratulate James, Lauren and Selica on their selection to officiate at the Olympics,” New Zealand Rugby’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said in a n interview.

“It’s great reward for the work they have been putting in and we look forward to seeing them on the World’s biggest sporting stage.”

Winiata has been a multiple World Cup winner and has officiated sevens since late 2019, balancing sevens and refereeing ever since. Winiata has refereed in four World Sevens Series events, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the sports industry seeing the competition halted, with heavy restrictions on international travel.

She has been capped with 40 tests for the Black Ferns and has won a Rugby World Cup, the Rugby World Cup Sevens and the World Sevens Series as a veteran player for the Black Ferns.

Winiata is said to now be concentrating on refereeing duties this year, but intends to return as a player for the Black Ferns when they aim to defend their World Cup title, held in their home town in  New Zealand next year. The World Cup has also been delayed like the Olympic Games due to the issues the pandemic has brought onto the sports industry.