Olympics: Skateboarding & surfing among possible Tokyo 2020 sports

Baseball was played at Beijing 2008 Olympics before being removed from the Olympic programme
Baseball was played at Beijing 2008 Olympics before being removed from the Olympic programme

Skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball, sport climbing and karate have been recommended for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The five new sports would take place over 18 events and include 474 more athletes.

Games hosts are being given a chance to bring in one or more sports popular in their country to boost ratings and attract greater sponsorship.

The International Olympic Committee will make a final decision next August.

Eight sports from a total of 26 federations were shortlisted, with bowling, squash and wushu missing out.

"This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally," said a statement from the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.

International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre said: "Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the programme, helping the Games reach new fans through live action and stunning broadcast opportunities."

Baseball and softball, united under the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), return to the Olympics for the first time since Asia last hosted the Summer Games, in Beijing in 2008.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) remain hopeful of a reprieve by the IOC in August 2016.

"Through three previous failed attempts to gain inclusion into the Games we have addressed all the issues and concerns the IOC have had regarding the sport," said PSA chief executive Alex Gough.

Squash chiefs say show courts an be erected outside
Squash chiefs say show courts an be erected outside

"It is difficult to accept that work will not lead to inclusion at the ultimate sporting event. We are buoyed by the strides the sport continues to take and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure the sport earns the global recognition it truly deserves."

Baseball/softball

Combined bid of men's baseball and women's softball. Both sports hugely popular in Japan.

Governing body: Says it has a total of 65 million people playing in more than 140 countries - the majority of whom are young children and teenagers.

Selling point: "World-class venues throughout Japan. Adding baseball/softball would be a low-risk/high-reward option, for both genders and youth."

Karate

Has never been contested at the Olympics. Judo, its fellow home-grown martial art, first joined in 1964, when Tokyo last hosted the Olympics, and was included from 1972 onwards.

Governing body: Says the sport, whose participants are 35% female, deserves a chance after unsuccessful bids to be a part of London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Selling point: "A sport with Japanese roots. Logistics of karate at an Olympic Games would appeal to the IOC as they would not need a specially­-built venue and could take place over just three days."

Athletes Hiroto Shinohara, Ryutaro Araga, and Kiyou Shimizu of the World Karate Federation (WKF) give a presentation
Hiroto Shinohara, Ryutaro Araga and Kiyou Shimizu, of the World Karate Federation, give a presentation

Skateboarding

Street and park skateboarding has been included ahead of other roller sports including roller hockey, speed skating and artistic skating.

Governing body: Under the tagline "Rolling to Tokyo" says it has submitted a flexible plan and claims to be the most popular youth sport.

Selling point: "Proposed a five-year set of events - seminars, international cup, national and world championships, tours all throughout the country."

Sport climbing

Last year sport climbing was chosen by the IOC as a demonstration sport at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

Governing body: Says climbing walls are present in more than 140 countries with 35 million climbers all around the world. Average age is 23 years old; 40% are under 20.

Selling point: "An unforgettable spectacle - fresh, young sport capitalising on the urban/action trend."

Surfing

International Surfing Association hailed its short listing as a "milestone" as it looks to create new surf parks.

Governing body: Points to technical advancements which can create artificial waves of up to two metres high at the push of a button, such as at the inland surf lagoon at Snowdonia in Wales.

Selling point: "Surfing has inherently youthful values and a blend of high performance, style and digital connectivity."

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