Olympic Games: Bridge, chess & tug of war apply for 2020 inclusion

Chess players
Could chess be part of the 2020 Olympic Games programme?

Would you consider chess and bridge to be sports?

Well, whatever your view, you might be watching them in the 2020 Olympics.

The genteel pursuits are among 26 sports to apply for inclusion in the Tokyo Games.

Air sports, floorball, flying disc, tug of war, sumo, polo, orienteering, korfball, dance sport, racquetball, roller sports, wakeboard and wushu have also put in a formal request to be part of the programme.

Floorball is a type of floor hockey featuring six players, while wushu is derived from traditional Chinese martial arts.

More mainstream sports to apply include American football, karate, squash, netball and bowls, which proved so popular at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The inclusion of bridge or chess would pave the way for people of more advanced years to compete at the Olympics.

The oldest Olympian is Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who was 72 when he won silver in the double shot running deer contest at the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

Tug of war at the 1908 Olympics
The United States team competing in the 1908 London Olympics at the White City Stadium

Tug of war was part of the Olympic programme between 1908 and 1920 with Great Britain winning five medals, including two golds.

The combined bid from baseball and softball, dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games, is considered a favourite because of the popularity of those sports in Japan.

A shortlist will be announced on 22 June with finalists making a presentation in Tokyo in August, before organisers make recommendations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by 30 September.

The IOC will make a final decision in August 2016, when it meets ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the Tokyo organising committee, said that sports "must be popular with young people, give momentum to Tokyo 2020 and meet IOC standards" to be considered for inclusion.

Under the IOC's 'Olympic Agenda 2020' reforms, host cities can propose the addition of one or more sports for their Games.

The 28-sport cap for future summer Olympics has been dropped but they will be restricted to 10,500 athletes and 310 events.

The full list of 26 sports to apply is: Air Sports, American football, baseball-softball, bowls, bowling, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, karate, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, sumo, surfing, tug of war, underwater sports, waterski and wakeboard and wushu.

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