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  • IOC Set to Shortlist Three Sports for 2020 Olympics


    (ATR) Sources tell Around the Rings the eight sports bidding for Olympic inclusion are likely to be cut to a group of three by the IOC Executive Board meeting in St. Petersburg later this month.
    Squash at the 2013 CIMB KL Open in Kuala Lumpur. (Getty Images)

    Karate, squash and wrestling are tipped to be shortlisted after all bidders have presented to the IOC on May 29, with baseball/softball, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu dropped from the pack.

    But ATR is told that the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) must deliver a very convincing case to the EB if it wants to stay in the bidding contest.

    The sources say FILA chiefs have to provide strong evidence to show how much the sport has changed since the IOC’s ruling body recommended it be dropped from the list of 25 core sports in February.

    Freestyle wrestling at London 2012. (Getty Images)
    Decisions made at FILA’s extraordinary congress in Moscow next week could aid its cause. Delegates from 177 national federations will consider the introduction of new rules, changes in the organization to include more women in leadership roles and additional athlete involvement in the sport’s governing body.

    Baseball’s joint bid with softball appears doomed to fail in its quest to be readmitted to the Olympics.

    Major League Baseball’s failure to break the season to allow its best players to participate in the Olympics has hurt the 2020 bid, it is claimed.

    One source close to the bidding process told ATR the MLB’s lack of commitment to the Olympics would not be well received by the IOC EB.

    He said the sports which merged to form the World Baseball Softball Confederation last month was simply a “marriage of convenience”.

    Ryutaro Araga of Japan and Kenji Grillon of France fight for -84kg gold at the 2012 World Karate Championships. (Getty Images)
    Karate has “made a strong claim over the years” to be included in the EB’s shortlist, he added. With the IOC keen to balance the Olympic program, karate’s challenge lay in the fact it's “another combat sport” for the Games; boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling are the others.

    Commenting on roller sports, sports climbing, wakeboarding and wushu, he suggested they were not developed enough internationally to merit a place in the Olympics, lacking the “universality” factor the IOC demanded of any new sport.

    IOC president Jacques Rogge is said to favor three sports for the shortlist, according to another person familiar with the bid race.

    The Belgian is expected to take a strong lead in EB discussions on the sports in St. Petersburg. He’s keen to leave a strong legacy when he steps down from the IOC presidency in September.

    The vote on the sport to fill the one slot available on the program for the 2020 Games takes place at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires on Sept. 8.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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