Baseball/softball, karate, surfing, skateboarding and climbing are added to the 2020 Olympic Games

FIVE new sports have been confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) have announced that baseball/softball, skateboarding, surfing, karate and climbing have been added to the Olympic programme, following the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We want to take sport to the youth.
“With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us.

“We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it.

“Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, which will have the same number of teams but different player totals, because softball teams have 15 players whilst baseball teams have 24.

Liam Carroll, British Baseball Federation’s National Teams Programme Official, said: “We are thrilled with the IOC’s decision, which we think our sports have earned given the levels of participation and calibre of play around the world, particularly in Japan.

“I’m excited that current and future players can aspire to represent our country in the Olympics, which fits within Great Britain Baseball’s mission to Inspire, Develop and Perform.”

“The return of softball to the 2020 Olympics will give thousands of women world-wide something to work hard towards” said GB Women’s Fastpitch National Team Head Coach, Rachael Watkeys.

“That alone will improve the professionalism, standard and participation in our game.

“In addition, greater exposure will inspire many more girls and women to take up the sport at a grassroots level, building our game and developing a talent pool for many years to come.

“Obviously we would love some funding to help our elite programme to train and play together more frequently but we see that as something that will come when it hopefully gains permanent inclusion in the game post 2020.” 

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