Surfing Charging to 2020
By iSportconnect | June 8, 2016
After the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne last week, there were emotional scenes at the International Surfing Association – as their presence at the 2020 Olympic Games was all but confirmed.
The Executive Board unanimously agreed to accept the proposal to add five new sports to the Games in 2020: softball/baseball, sports climbing, skateboarding, Karate and surfing.
Although their inclusion has to be formally ratified in Rio at the IOC congress, Fernando Aguerre, President of the ISA, was delighted to see his sport on the brink of a historic entry into the Games.
“We’ve been through a few very intense years…. We have done a lot of work; we think we are a sport that could add a lot of value to the Games, especially the Tokyo Games, but in general to the Olympic movement, we represent a lot of the youth values that are important to the Olympic movement.”
It is nothing less than a personal triumph for Aguerre. He has led the ISA since 1994, putting his heart and soul into including the sport in the Games. Many in his sport thought it would never happen, but the Argentine has finally secured the Olympic berth he had fought so hard for. He was fighting for Olympic inclusion as early as the 2000 Games.
Now surfing is all but included, the work begins to get the world’s best surfers on-board.Surfing boasts some genuine world class talent, with household names like Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. Aguerre is working with the privately owned World Surf League to ensure the sport’s top stars will be coming to Tokyo.
“The ownership and the CEO [of the WSL] committed themselves to bringing the best athletes. Our idea is not just about the performance, but it is performance and universality. We are prepared to bring the top stars, but also to be sure that we also have the diversification, so there will be African surfers, American surfers, South Pacific surfers, Asian and European Surfers.”
“The proposal for Tokyo is 20 male and 20 female. Most likely there will be qualifiers around the world, as I said there will be representation from different continents and regions, it will be a very diverse Games. Remember when you think about surfing you think about Australia, Brazil, the US as they are the big surfing nations, in terms of numbers its true. But then there are a lot of other nations that people may not think about such as South Africa, France, Portugal, Costa Rica, and Peru. They may not have a thousand great surfers, but they do have a few great surfers.”
Surfing is coming to Tokyo, and could well be staying for a very long time.