Five sports receive Olympic boost

Five sports receive Olympic boost

28 September 2015 / 12:46
With Rio rapidly emerging on the horizon Tokyo 2020 might seem like an age away for many athletes.

But with five new sports being recommended for inclusion into the Games in Japan there will be plenty of newcomers desperate to realise their Olympic dreams.

The hosts are being given the chance to introduce one or more sports into the Games that are popular in their country with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing all being recommended.

Eight sports in total were shortlisted but bowling, squash and wushu miss out with the Olympic Committee set to make a final decision in August 2016.

But in the meantime here's all you need to know about the sports that might make the cut in 2020.

Baseball/Softball


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While many might think baseball is just a sport for our friends across the pond it is actually the national sport of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela and has huge popularity in Japan as well as other countries like Cuba.

If selected it wouldn't be the first time that the sport has made an appearance at the Games with baseball recognised as an Olympic sport at the 1992 Games and featuring every four years until Beijing 2008.

Japan's first baseball team was founded in 1878 and, with world class facilities already in place in the country and millions of followers, the sport could prove a huge hit in 2020.
Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, said: "The entire baseball and softball world is excited and ready to cross the Olympic home plate.”

Karate

Karate

It would be a journey that has come full circle for karate should it be selected for Tokyo.

While its roots are varied the sport can generally be traced to the Japanese island of Okinawa less than 200 years ago.

After being popularised by Gichin Funakoshi the martial art spread worldwide and now has more than 100 million practitioners.

Despite its popularity it has never been contested at an Olympic Games despite vying for inclusion in 2012 and 2016 - though it was part of this year's European Games in Baku. 

Skateboarding

Street and park skateboarding are the events put forward as part of the roller sports bid and would see 40 athletes competing in both disciplines with an equal split of men and women.

The Federation of International Roller Sports has been using the tagline 'Rolling up to Tokyo' to promote its bid but, while skateboarding was selected, roller hockey, speed skating and artistic skating all missed the cut.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is a variety of rock climbing and was chosen by the IOC as a demonstration sport at last year's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

With participants across the world rock climbing is one the world's most historic sports and has tens of millions of participants across the globe.

The discipline of sport climbing is generally youthful with the sport's governing body suggesting that the average age is 23 with 40% under 20.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing president Marco Scolaris said: “Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead.

“Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights.”

Surfing

The sport of surfing has been part of Polynesian culture for hundreds of years before spreading globally and developing a unique culture and community of its own.

While hugely popular in West Coast America as well as Hawaii and Australia the sport can be found almost anywhere with Britain also possessing some excellent surf spots.

The Surfing Association has hailed the possible inclusion as a milestone in the sport's history.

“Tokyo 2020’s announcement today is an extraordinary moment for our sport and for the global Surfing Community,” said president Fernando Aguerre.

"The ISA has been riding an amazing wave in this journey for Olympic inclusion and we are thrilled that Tokyo 2020 recognise the exceptional value and youthful lifestyle that surfing can bring to the 2020 Games.

"Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the programme, helping the Games reach new fans through live action and stunning broadcast opportunities.”

Sportsbeat 2015