POSTED: May 29th 2013

2020 Olympics: Wrestling back on the mat, Baseball/Softball get another chance and Squash advances

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just confirmed that their choice of three sports to be put before the IOC session for voting on the 2020 Games’ program are baseball/softball, squash and wrestling.

The three sports were voted in a secret ballot from a total list of eight that also included karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.

Prior to the vote each sport delivered a 30 minute presentation by their respective International Federation and even included an extensive evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission of their assessment on each one.

“The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight International Federations,” said IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge.

“It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires. I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”

Next is the final vote at the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires where one sport will be chosen to be added to the 25 core sports – plus golf and rugby sevens who were added in 2009 as additional sports to the 2016 Olympic program.

The Olympic Programme Commission, headed by Franco Carraro, systematically reviews every sport post Games to evaluate their relevance to sports fans. They use a 39 point criteria study in determining a sport’s suitability for the Olympic Games, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values. 

Wrestling was recently put forward by the IOC Executive Board as one that might be removed from the program. However the international federation has been very active making adjustments to reach higher standards.

Baseball/Softball left the Olympic Games roster after 2008 and have since merged to create one unique federation combining the two sports.

Squash is new to the program and proposes a format men’s and women’s singles championships that would comprise 32 male and 32 female players.   

2020 Bid Cities

Two leaders of the cities bidding for the 2020 Games issued statements on the decision.

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and Tokyo 2020 President said,"We have noted today's announcement by the IOC Executive Board regarding the sports shortlisted for inclusion onto the 2020 Olympic Games sports programme.

"Our Games plan and our renowned experience at hosting international sporting events ensure we will be fully prepared to host any additional sport at the Games in Tokyo, should we receive the honour to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"Tokyo 2020 promises delivery with guaranteed quality and maximum benefits for everyone. We can assure the IOC that, whichever sport is selected to join the Olympic programme, Tokyo 2020 will be designed to offer them wide exposure and an amazing Games experiences for its athletes."

Hasan Arat , leader of the Istanbul 2020 bid, added,“On behalf of the entire Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, let me offer our warmest congratulations to wrestling, baseball/softball and squash, and commiserations to those who missed out on this occasion.

“It is an exciting prospect to work with any of the three recommended sports. Istanbul 2020 is ready to guarantee exactly the same strong partnership, the same unrivalled athlete experience and the same bridge to fresh markets as we have guaranteed the other International Federations. The first ever Games in Turkey is a fantastic opportunity to continue the development of sport worldwide. If we are given the honour of being named hosts of the 2020 Games, we are ready to work with the Olympic Family to make the most of that opportunity.”

Keywords · Wrestling · squash · Baseball/softball · 2020 Games · IOC

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