Shortlisted Sports Stepping up Efforts for Inclusion into Tokyo 2020 Olympics
August 14, 2015
With Olympic Agenda 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a landmark ruling which allowed Olympic host nations to make proposals for the inclusion of one or more additional sports onto the Olympic programme.
Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic Committee of Olympic and Paralympic Games to fulfil this.
In June, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee shortlisted eight IOC-recognised International Federations (IFs) to be considered for inclusion at the 2020 Olympic Games.
The shortlisted IFs are:
– World Baseball Softball Confederation – WBSC
– World Bowling – WB
– World Karate Federation – WKF
– International Roller Sports Federation – FIRS
– International Federation of Sport Climbing – IFSC
– World Squash Federation – WSF
– International Surfing Association – ISA
– International Wushu Federation – IWUF
All eight shortlisted IFs attended Tokyo for two-day interviews recently (7-8th August) with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to bring their cases forward for why they should be included.
Steve Wilson, Chief Olympic Correspondent for the Associated Press (AP), told iSportconnect that popularity of these sports in Japan will play a big part in the decision and therefore expects baseball and softball to be one of the sports selected.
“Number one is the popularity of the sport in Japan, they want to appeal to the home audience and clearly baseball and softball would be number one on the list,” said Wilson
“It’s a national sport in Japan and it would be very surprising if those two sports were not on the list to be put forward by Tokyo.”
Wilson also said other criteria for the IOC will be sports that appeal to youth as the organisation wants to make a big effort to connect more with youth through sports.
“The IOC has repeatedly said, ‘we want sports that appeal to youth, we need to connect with youth’, this is the other driving force behind present box presence and we’ll have to see what sport fits that bill the best,” added Wilson.
“There are sports such as roller-skating, skateboarding, these type of events are in the mix, but there are more established ones as well such as squash, karate, all these factors will have to be taken into account but the IOC stresses that there must be a youth component to these.
“It must appeal to the youth, so we’ll see how those sports sell their programme to the IOC, to the organisers that’s the key thing right now.”
As the top sport in Japan in terms of youth participation, infrastructure, media coverage and fan-following, Baseball and Softball appears to have the upper hand among the sports vying for a place in the 2020 Olympics.
Following their two-day interview in Tokyo recently, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “Given our sport’s footprint in Japan and worldwide, WBSC and our global partners hoped to have shown during the interview in Tokyo that staging Olympic baseball and softball in 2020 would be easily accommodated – fully in the spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020 – and the added value as well as the historic value would be a ‘home run’ for Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Movement and our sport.”
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will make a decision on the sports it will propose for inclusion to the IOC by 30th September, with the final decision, in line with the Olympic Charter, to be made at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.