5 sports get Tokyo 2020 green light

Olympics 2016 (Getty Images)
Olympics 2016 (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed the addition of five new sports to the Tokyo 2020 programme.

A recommendation to introduce the five sports was unanimously backed by all 90 IOC members on Wednesday.

The five sports will add 470 athletes and 18 new events to the next Olympics.

The move forms part of IOC president Thomas Bach's "Olympic Agenda 2020" plan, which aims to rejuvenate the Olympics and make them more appealing to younger viewers.

It has not yet been decided if any existing Olympic sports will be dropped to make room for the new ones.

"We want to take sport to the youth," said Bach.

"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.

"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 sports set to join the Olympic party in four years' time:

• Baseball/softball
• Karate
• Skateboarding
• Sports climbing
• Surfing

Despite the unanimous vote, several members of the IOC did voice a number of concerns.

There is a fear that baseball will see a repeat of what happened with golf this year, with the biggest players in the sport not attending the Games.

The American professional leagues have not agreed to suspend play for the Olympics and few expect them to.

Veteran member Dick Pound expressed his disappointment at squash not being accepted, while there were also concerns that skateboarding currently has no recognised international federation

Reacting to surfing's inclusion, International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre said the sport was "absolutely thrilled".

"This is a game-changing moment for surfing," he said.

"We are especially stoked for the athletes who now have their own dream to shoot for - to compete for their countries on the greatest sporting stage."

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