IOC accepts Tokyo organizers’ proposal for 5 new sports to be added to 2020 Olympics

TOKYO — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted unanimously to add five more sports to the Tokyo 2020 Games, with the approval being made based on a proposal by the Tokyo organizers, local media reported here Thursday.

According to Japan’s NHK public broadcaster, the IOC voted and agreed that some sports highly popular in Japan would make a comeback to the Games, including both baseball and softball, and also voted to add karate, sports climbing, surfing and skateboarding to the new roster of sports.

Baseball and softball have both featured in previous Olympics, most recently in 2008, but the sports of karate, skateboarding and sports climbing will be featuring for the first time in the international event in 2020.

“This will constitute a new chapter in the illustrious history of the Olympic Games,” Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, was quoted by local media as telling the IOC assembly.

“The inclusion of the package will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to compete in the Olympic Games,” Mori added.

NHK quoted IOC organizers as saying that the additional sports will be added to those on the current roster and will not replace them.

Before the Tokyo organizers’ proposal for the new sports was voted on, the IOC Board members deliberated over issues pertinent to the sports’ inclusion in the 2020 Games, including those of gender equality as well as whether or not the sports being proposed would be popular with younger audiences and sports enthusiasts, local reports here said.

The process of planning the summer Games, to be held in he nation’s capital in four year’s time, can now be expedited, the Tokyo organizers said, but they maintained that the newly-added sports may not become regular features in Games held after 2020.

NHK said the organizers here are now eyeing potential venues to host the newly-included sports.

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee CEO, Toshiro Muto, underscoring his team’s belief in the future success of the new sports, outlined their myriad benefits, as local media here reported.

“I firmly believe these sports will deliver significant benefits, worldwide youth appeal, increased excitement in Japan and overall value to the Games,” Muto said. PNA/Xinhua/