After helping France win LA Sevens, Dupont has Olympic gold in mind

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PARIS (AP) — After helping France win the Los Angeles Sevens, Antoine Dupont has his sights firmly set on Olympic gold at the Paris Games.

France beat Britain 21-0 in the men’s final in Carson, California, on Sunday to claim its first title in the rugby sevens world series in 19 years.

After switching from the 15s format following the Rugby World Cup in October, Dupont has won medals in his first two tournaments; bronze in Vancouver and gold in Los Angeles. Now he's eyeing an even bigger prize at the Olympics in July.

“I got involved in this Olympic project to go and get a medal, obviously this color (gold),” he told sports daily L'Equipe's website on Monday. “We're all focused on this, on busting a gut. We've got a few months and tournaments to go. But we've all got this target in mind with the objective of doing something special.”

Dupont's presence has energized a France team which has moved up from seventh to fourth place on the overall standings.

“I’m just super happy, proud of the team,” said Dupont, who has gotten used to getting up at 6 a.m. and playing up to three matches per day. “It’s an incredible sport (format) where physical presence counts for a lot, but also your capacity to never ease up.”

The 27-year-old Dupont is widely considered the world’s best rugby union player in the traditional 15s format. He is a former world player of the year, three-time Six Nations player of the year, and starred at last year’s World Cup in France, where he needed surgery for a facial fracture.

He feels his transition to sevens could not have gone better.

“I’ve been really well received,” he said. “I’ve been able to test myself in all conditions, play in really big games.”


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