With an emphasis on attracting younger sports enthusiasts, IOC voted unanimously on Wednesday to include five sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games. A look at the additions:
Karate might not carry on past the 2020 Games because of a packed schedule of combat sports which already includes boxing, wrestling, taekwondo and fellow Japanese martial art, judo. Twenty competitors will take part in the kata discipline and another 60 will contest kumite at the Tokyo Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts.
Nearly 7,000 skaters signed a petition to keep skateboarding out of the Olympics but it will join the Olympic circus in four years’ time. At a temporary venue in Tokyo, 40 men and 40 women will compete in ‘street’, where they perform tricks on a number of obstacles, and ‘park’, where skaters compete on ramps.
Plans to use an artificial wave machine have been ditched and the race is now on to become one of the 40 surfers, 20 men and 20 women, who will compete on coastline south of Tokyo to become the sport’s first Olympic medallists. Olympic competition could boost exposure and, most likely, sponsorship.
Sixty climbers will compete in three disciplines: lead, where competitors have to climb within a set timeframe; bouldering, or climbing without ropes; and speed, where competitors race against the clock. The gold-medallists will be the ones with the most points after all three events.
The massive following of baseball in Japan was cause for its inclusion. It first appeared at the Olympics in the 1992 Barcelona Games and was last held at Beijing 2008. Cuba won the first two Olympic gold medals, when players were required to be amateur. USA won the first three editions of women-only softball since 1996.