IOC Session: Cricket ticks off another box | Crickit

IOC Session: Cricket ticks off another box

ByRutvick Mehta
Oct 13, 2023 11:34 PM IST

All new sports that were put forward by the IOC board to the IOC Session for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as the 2024 Paris Games were passed

Cricket, and the four other sports proposed by the Los Angeles organising committee for the 2028 Olympics, ticked off another box in its Olympic journey after being accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board in its meeting held here on Friday.

The IOC executive body’s vote of confidence for T20 cricket takes it to the IOC Session in Mumbai(REUTERS)
The IOC executive body’s vote of confidence for T20 cricket takes it to the IOC Session in Mumbai(REUTERS)

The IOC executive body’s vote of confidence for T20 cricket takes it to the IOC Session in Mumbai, where it will go under vote — likely on Monday — in what is the final step to the sport’s return to the Olympics after a century. All new sports that were put forward by the IOC board to the IOC Session for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as the 2024 Paris Games were passed.

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“These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC executive board, taking into consideration that these sports are fully in line with the sports culture of our hosts in 2028, with the American sports culture," IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters after Friday’s meeting.

Bach termed cricket’s likely Olympic inclusion as a “win-win situation” for both the sport and the Olympic movement.

LA proposes six-team events

The proposal from LA is to have six teams across gender for the new team sports. It means cricket could have six-team men and women events, with one spot usually reserved for the host nation. Decisions regarding the regional quotas and qualification system and the exact number of teams will be made later.

"That number (of teams) will only be confirmed when it is finalised in early 2025," said Kit McConnell, IOC sports director.

The four other proposed sports set to feature at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics are baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash. Except squash, all the others are team sports, which is set to push the IOC’s cap of 10,500 on the number of participants at an Olympics.

While the Paris Games next year, which will feature four individual new sports (breaking, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing), will fall within it, the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 had around 11,000 athletes. McConnell acknowledged they will have to find the balance between limiting the excess with the addition of these new team sports and making changes to the caps within the existing sports in the Olympics programme.

“With the package put forward for LA with four team sports, it’s clear we will need to go over 10,500. We will try and limit how far we go over," McConnell said.

No nod for compound archery

While the probable inclusion of cricket and squash could be a welcome move from an Indian viewpoint, compound archery’s Olympic dreams are all but over after it could not make the cut for the LA Olympics. According to Bach, the IOC received requests from various international sports federations to add 16 new disciplines to the 2028 programme. Only one was accepted, with beach sprint rowing replacing the lightweight double sculls event.

“The requests were evaluated under three criteria — whether they require a new venue, quota increases and whether they are replacements of existing disciplines or events,” Bach said.

India’s compound archers swept all gold medals on offer at the Hangzhou Asian Games, and people associated with the non-Olympic discipline in the country were hoping that it too receives the nod alongside recurve archery for the LA Games. The rowing replacement also comes as a setback for Indian rowing as Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh had won the Asian Games silver in lightweight double sculls in Hangzhou.

Boxing on hold; weightlifting cleared

Meanwhile, the fate of boxing, not part of the initial sports programme for the 2028 Olympics, remains uncertain. Bach stated that “any decision of inclusion of boxing is put on hold” by the executive board, with the IOC having suspended the International Boxing Association (IBA) and not yet recognising any other governing body for the sport.

“The IOC has no international federation to partner up with regard to the organisation of an Olympic tournament," Bach said.

Weightlifting, under the scanner for doping offences, has been recommended to be included after the International Weightlifting Federation decided to "delegate its anti-doping management to the International Testing Agency and its sanctioning to the Court of Arbitration for Sport at least until the end of 2028," Bach said.

Modern pentathlon too has been recommended as the IOC acknowledged the "replacement of horse riding with obstacle racing and the optimisation work conducted by the International Modern Pentathlon Union to reduce costs and complexity”.

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