The fiction, or should I say fantasy, that there are 26 sports deservedly ready, willing and able to bid for a single addition to the programme for Tokyo 2020 has been neatly sidestepped by the IOC – and placed in the lap of the Japanese: “Take your pick.”
A plethora of federations have submitted themselves – closing date June 8
– for consideration by Tokyo’s Additional Event Programme Panel of
judges, who will announce a shortlist by June 22, they requiring further
details submitted by July 22. In my, partially qualified, assessment, only 11 of
the 26 are seriously worthy of consideration. The other 15 are, to borrow from
Gene Kelly, effectively singing in the rain.
My A-list would embrace Baseball/Softball, Bowling, Chess, Dance, Karate,
Netball, Orienteering, Climbing, Squash, Surfing and Tug-of-War. The Olympic
Movement could do with some added intellectualism, looking around an average
gathering, so I include Chess – a champion having been NOC president in
Georgia some years back.
The likely front four, I guess, include Squash, which has been a convincing
applicant for some while, and qualifies in the realm of youth, continent/nations
spread, accessibility. Tug-of-War is believed to enjoy the sympathy, maybe
slight, of IOC President Thomas Bach, whilst Surfing is an increasingly strong
contender now that technology makes possible a uniform synthesised inland
‘track’ of whatever height and wave speed.
Presentations in Tokyo are to be made in August, with the organising
committee’s final proposal to the IOC by the end of September. The IOC’s
criteria are firstly, driving force for the Olympic Movement; youth appeal;
engaging Japanese and global audience; open and fair assessment. Tokyo’s
favourite is likely to be Baseball/Softball or Karate, all with substantial home
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Sport Intern.