Cheerleading and Muay Thai granted provisional recognition as Olympic sports

Cheerleading
The World Cheerleading Championships is one of the International Cheer Union's main competitions

Cheerleading and the martial art of Muay Thai have received provisional recognition as Olympic sports.

The two sports will receive $25,000 (£19,700) in annual funding from the International Olympic Committee.

They can apply to become part of the Olympic Games sports programme after three years.

"Cheerleading is a sport with growing popularity. It has a strong youth focus and we noted that," said IOC sports director Kit McConnell.

The international cheer union (ICU) has more than 100 national federations and nearly 4.5 million registered athletes.

Muay Thai is an organisation with 135 national federations, nearly 60 are recognised by their national Olympic committees and nearly 400,000 registered athletes.

The addition of the two would take the number of recognised Olympic sports to 37.

Tokyo, hosts of the 2020 Games, will have surfing, sport climbing and karate among the six new sports they have included.

Becoming part of the Olympic Games can take seven years, but host cities are allowed to introduce sports of their choice for a one-off appearance.

What is competitive cheerleading?

Competitive or "All-Star" cheerleading is very different to what you see at American football or basketball.

Teams are judged on gymnastic tumbles, dance, stunts, pyramids and overall impression and compete against other squads of similar ability.

It is daring, exhilarating, physically demanding and at times, the most dangerous sporting discipline for young women.

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