WBSC and ISA Welcome Proposed Inclusion into 2020 Olympic Games
September 28, 2015
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA), two of the sports among the five proposed by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for inclusion into the Olympic Games, have welcomed the decision and expressed their delight at the possible opportunity to compete on the biggest stage.
Baseball/softball is the top sport in Japan and was always likely to be proposed as one of the additional sports for the Games. It is also the biggest sport not currently featured at the Olympic Games.
Speaking to iSportconnect before the proposals were made, Steve Wilson, Chief Olympic Correspondent for the Associated Press (AP) predicted that baseball/softball would make the cut due to the popularity of the sport in Japan.
“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.”
Reacting to the news, WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “Tokyo 2020’s decision to propose our sport is a ‘home run’ and giant leap forward for baseball and softball.”
In our exclusive interview with ISA president Fernando Aguerre in November, he outlined his confidence that surfing could become an Olympic sport, particularly as it met one of the IOC’s main criteria of appealing to youth.
“I’m convinced that surfing could be a very solid sport in the Summer Games,” he told iSportconnect.
“If you think of the Olympic ideals we have all of that, we have universal appeal, we are in all five continents with federations.
“Additionally, surfing is a youth sport by definition. If the IOC wants to be increasingly relevant to the youth of the world, surfing would certainly be adding value in that sense.”
Giving his thoughts on the sport being proposed for inclusion, Aguerre said: “Tokyo 2020’s announcement today is an extraordinary moment for our sport and for the global Surfing Community.
“Today’s announcement gives us renewed drive and focus and we are looking forward to working closely with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 in the crucial months ahead to deliver the best possible solution to the IOC Session in Rio”
The IOC will now take the final decision on the sports to be added to the 2020 Programme at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.