SINGAPORE - The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens was ranked second out of 10 legs of the World Rugby Sevens series, and Asia's best last season, according to World Rugby's tournament evaluation.
With a score of 89.8, it made a mammoth leap from ninth place in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, and finished just 0.2 behind Vancouver, Canada.
Cape Town (South Africa) was third, Hamilton (New Zealand) was fourth and Hong Kong fifth.
Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) president Terence Khoo told The Straits Times on Monday (Feb 11) that this was an unprecedented improvement in the history of the series as the Singapore Sevens was awarded the most improved event by World Rugby.
He said: "Our task was to put the Singapore Sevens back on track to be one of the leading lights of the series. We centred our event on family fun, which differentiated Singapore from the other venues.
"There were many areas of improvement as we dug deep and devoted manpower and resources into running the event to ensure the player and team experience were better than before.
"For us to go one-up on Hong Kong is a great achievement, and we were very close to becoming No. 1."
There are nine categories in the World Rugby assessment and Singapore Sevens emerged for accommodation and general support services. It also finished in the top three for training facilities and travel, which include land and air transfers.
Rugby Singapore chairman David Lim shared how the creation of a players' village at the OCBC Arena helped them score well in the general support services category.
He said: "We set up areas where players could rest and relax, have their meals or physiotherapy and they really enjoyed it.
"To have an event like this, and run it well, will help to motivate and inspire the next generation of rugby players and grow interest in the sport as Singaporeans get to watch world-class athletes up close."
The enthralling battles on the pitch also scored well with fans at the National Stadium, especially Fiji's 28-22 upset win over Australia in the final last year.
In 2018, the event was watched by over 55,000 fans and it has attracted some 140,000 fans over the last three years. This year's edition will be held on April 13-14.
Meanwhile, the SRU has successfully renewed its Institution of Public Character (IPC) status which expired last August.
Lim, who is also an SRU vice-president, said: "The expiry coincided with a regular scheduled internal audit with Sport Singapore.
"Issues were flagged and corrected. Once we showed we made the appropriate adjustments, our IPC status was renewed after a review earlier this month."