Australian sister act Maddison and Teagan Levi believe the power of rugby sevens has awakened girls and women to an exciting Olympic journey that never existed just over a decade ago.
As siblings, getting to share the experience of playing at exotic locations around the world only magnifies the enjoyment in Australia’s World Cup-winning sevens team.
The International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS Handa) is proudly supporting Australia’s men’s and women’s sevens teams for that Olympic journey after becoming principal partner in October, 2022.
More than that, the two-year agreement means an official partnership with Wheelchair Rugby Australia.
Through founder Dr Haruhisa Handa, ISPS Handa’s global reach has nurtured the transformative power of sport in countries all over the globe.
“We’re delighted to partner with Rugby Australia and Wheelchair Rugby Australia, and very excited to be directly involved in Sevens Rugby, which continues to grow in popularity around the world,” Dr Handa said.
“I’m also extremely happy that we are supporting Wheelchair Rugby because I have believed for a very long time in the importance of giving people with disabilities the best possible opportunity to be involved in sport.”
Maddi, 20, is the breakout star of the World Rugby Sevens Series over the past two seasons. With the final tournament in Toulouse (May 12-14) still to play for 2022-23, the winger’s 47 tries put her within reach of the record haul of 52 posted for a single season in 2014-15.
Younger sister Teagan, 19, sees Australia’s successes in 2022 at the Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Rugby Sevens Series in a broader context.
“I think women’s sport has grown so much and there is so much more to come,” Teagan said.
“It’s good to see all different sports moving ahead and people getting behind them because it’s not just men’s sport you can watch on TV these days.”
The Australian side recently locked in qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics which means an opportunity to use the disappointments of the Tokyo Olympics as fuel for a bolder performance.
Maddi’s talent, while still a teenager, was so persuasive she was selected for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as a pacy rookie with a ponytail.
Australia entered the Olympics as the 2016 Rio gold medallists, from rugby sevens’ debut on sport’s grandest stage, but a loss in the quarter-finals to Fijiana in Tokyo was a shock. Tears flowed freely.
“Not just individually but as team we’ve learnt so much since Tokyo. It was a devastating one but you only get better and move forward from a bit of adversity,” Maddi said.
The Levi sisters both reflect how sporting opportunities can open up from unexpected backgrounds with the right support.
“We have a different story. We grew up as dancers. We came to the rugby scene quite late but we definitely played a lot of backyard footy with dad as kids,” Maddi said.
“The opportunity that rugby sevens gives us to travel the world doing what we love and play against other countries internationally is something you can’t get in any other rugby code or the AFLW in Australia. It’s awesome and I get to do it with my sister.”
In less than two years, Maddi has had her rugby passport stamped in Japan, Dubai, Spain, Canada, France, South Africa, USA, England, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Play rugby sevens and see the world.