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Alan Hubbard: Angling For a ‘Plaice’ in the Olympics is No Joke

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The international governing body for fishing has applied for it to be part of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Photo: parrandasportfishing.com

So, fishing is angling to become an Olympic sport. Join the queue.

The international governing body for fishing has applied for it to be part of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Too late of course as the program has already been decided but who knows what may happen in the future, such are the idiosyncrasies of the denizen of Lausanne.

If they can give the nod to climbing up a wall rather than a legitimate sport like squash they are more than capable of casting the net to eventually include fishing and a whole host of other more oddball pursuits.

Upon my sole. Talk about angling for a plaice in the Olympics!

The Confederation Internationale de la Peche Sportive says accepting fishing as an Olympic discipline would “enlarge the universality of the Olympic idea because angling is so popular.”

Fish caught would be returned to the water unharmed, and not end up on the plates of IOC bigwigs.

Fishing has featured at the Olympics once before – it was an unofficial sport at the 1900 Paris Games. Only six nations took part and there is no record of the eventual winner. Perhaps they did not catch anything.

Critics say fishing involves too much luck, is incomprehensible to outsiders and too boring to watch. Quite.

They reject Confederation president Ferenc Szalay’s assertion that angling’s “ancient and fair competition system” matches Olympic ideals.

Fishing is among a raft of sports aiming to secure Olympic status.

Skateboarding, surfing, climbing, karate and baseball/softball have already been confirmed for Tokyo 2020.

Skateboarding, surfing, climbing, karate and baseball/softball have already been confirmed for Tokyo 2020. Photo:  Mavericks Surf Contest 2010, by Shalom Jacobovitz - via Wikimedia Commons.
Skateboarding, surfing, climbing, karate and baseball/softball have already been confirmed for Tokyo 2020. Photo: Mavericks Surf Contest 2010, by Shalom Jacobovitz – via Wikimedia Commons.

The IOC said it hopes the “innovative” move will draw in new audiences by focusing inclusions on youth-oriented sports.

The five extra sports, which do not replace any of the 28 already on the Tokyo schedule, will include 18 events and involve hundreds of athletes.

Baseball and softball featured separately between 1992 and 2008, but made a joint bid to be readmitted.

Dozens of other activities have been sniffing around the Olympic platform for years, among them snooker, darts, dominoes, chess, bridge, scrabble, water skiing, arm-wrestling, bog snorkelling, paragliding and ballroom dancing.

Indeed, just about every muscle or brain-flexing activity practiced by man – and woman – have jostled to climb aboard the Olympic Games bandwagon – including, would you believe, sheep-shearing.

Why, even cheerleaders have the Olympics on their agenda – and I do not mean those over-excitable jingoists in the BBC commentary boxes.

Yes, cheerleading. Pom poms, twirling batons, high kicks et al.

The argument being, that it is no more absurd a sporting concept than synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, beach volleyball and dressage. Or, dare I say it, ice dancing?

What next? Belly dancing and pole dancing?

Seriously, I suspect that the increasingly lily-livered IOC will in years to come bow even more to commercial pressures to broaden the original concept of Games.

In fact, I predict that by the middle of this century the Olympics could even be a Games of two halves – one featuring the core traditional sports such as track and field, swimming, boxing and gymnastics, and the other an assortment of the rest and current wannabes.

And I bet you there will also be an Olympic Grand Prix for Formula One staged somewhere like Ulan Bator.

As I have opined here before, it is ridiculous that a popular sport like squash apparently is not regarded as sufficiently Olympian and has consistently been squeezed out of the Games, eliminated for Tokyo alongside wushu (no, that is not a panto character in Aladdin) and tenpin bowling (aka skittles for grown-ups).

Once more it was given the squash equivalent of tennis elbow.

Sport climbing? I have said perhaps rather unkindly that this is more usually something kids do on walls in leisure centers while their mums are having a cafe latte.

But if climbing up walls is now considered an Olympic pursuit then why not abseiling down them?

I recently watched a TV piece on the sport of paddleboarding in which  participants are propelled by a swimming motion using their arms while lying, kneeling, or standing on a type of surfboard on rivers or in the ocean.

In another version the paddler stands up using an oar.

And yes, paddleboarding is now applying for Olympic status. No doubt punting will follow.

As for angling, who is to say that before long the IOC will fall hook, line and sinker?

By Alan Hubbard

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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