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  • Buenos Aires 2018 -- New Sports, Events Add Thrills and Spills


    (ATR) - Four new sports making their Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games promise to generate a real buzz in Buenos Aires.
    Japanese Karate athletes practice in Buenos Aires (ATR)

    In karate, sport climbing – new sports for Tokyo 2020 – roller speed skating and dancesport, the IOC aims to further broaden the appeal of the YOG. The new sports were added at the request of Argentine organizers. Added to the 28 others already on the program, they mean visitors can choose from 32 sports.

    There will be 48 athletes competing in three different weight categories per gender at the Europa Pavilion in the Youth Olympic Centre. In bouts lasting two minutes, competitors face each other with gloves and foot protection. They score points according to correctly controlled punches, strikes and kicks. This is not full contact battling; fighters must show self-control in each technique.

    Sport climbing
    Trialed at the interactive Sports Lab at the second summer YOG four years ago in Nanjing, it will be held at the Urban Park. Twenty boys and 20 girls will compete in events combining three disciplines – bouldering, lead and speed climbing. Results are tallied to decide the medalists.

    Three sport climbing events will be held for both boys and girls (IFSC)
    In speed, the aim is to be the fastest to the top of a 15m-high wall. Competitors race in pairs on identical routes. The objective in bouldering is to overcome the most problems on a climbing route in the least number of attempts against the clock. In lead, it’s all about going as high as possible on a 15m wall in six minutes.

    Roller speed skating
    It mixes the thrills of the cycling velodrome with the spills and overtaking of short track on ice – athletes can reach speeds of up to 50kph. Some two dozen skaters – 12 male, 12 female -- will launch in a mass start. They will compete in a combined event that covers the 500m sprint, 1,000m sprint and 5,000m elimination on a 200m banked track at Paseo de la Costa. The cumulative results determine the medalists. All-rounders are expected to do the best.

    The spinning, twisting urban dance style that originated in the Bronx borough of New York in the 1970’s will be accompanied by big beats as dancesport lights up the Urban Park. There will be 24 athletes – 12 boys and 12 girls – competing in male, female and mixed teams. Dancers face off in a battle format that is judged and scored according to six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality.

    Two of the five new sports for the Tokyo Games – skateboard and surfing -- are notable absentees.

    Watch for some fun in other sports, as well.

    Beach handball, which replaces the indoor format, is among six new events spicing up the action. Futsal, the five-a-side indoor game, replaces the 11-a-side football seen at previous summer YOGs in Singapore and Nanjing. Acrobatic gymnastics is another exciting addition to the program. BMX freestyle park and kiteboarding bring dynamism to cycling and sailing. Rowing is introduced in a fast-paced format, with the 500-meter course replacing the 1,000-meter races contested at the YOG in 2010 and 2014.

    With three dozen disciplines and a whopping 241 events total, fans can be forgiven if they have a hard time deciding what to go see.

    Click here to read the full special edition magazine.

    Written by Mark Bisson

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