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IOC recommends five sports inclusion at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing have all been recommended for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board at its meeting this week in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
All five were approved in exactly the same form as they were first proposed by Japanese organisers last year.
It means 18 new events and 474 new athletes will appear on the Olympic program.
A final decision is due to be made by the IOC membership during the Session in Rio de Janeiro in August.
However, this is likley to be a formality with the vote due to be a simple approval or disapproval of the whole package.
The five sports will receive no share of the revenue from Tokyo 2020, the IOC have confirmed, with this to be distributed between only the 28 programs due to appear at Rio 2016.
Six-team tournaments have been proposed in men's baseball and women's softball, which were both axed after Beijing 2008, with baseball squads set to number 24 and softball 15.
A total of 60 karatekas are set compete in six kumite sparring and two kata demonstration categories and 40 athletes are scheduled to take part in bouldering and lead and speed combined climbing.
Another 40 athletes will participate in men's and women's shortboard surfing.
40 will also take part in men and women's street and park skateboarding events.
The IOC has claimed that the inclusion on the new sport "promotes gender equality", with "each of the five sports having equal numbers of teams for men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community."
IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell described the decision as "historic" and claimed that the "unanimous support from the Executive Board underlines excitement all-around this project".
Skateboarding has proved the most controversial of the five proposed by Tokyo 2020 last September, particularly as events were submitted as part of the International Roller Sports Federation's (FIRS) application.
Two other bodies - the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) and the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) - have also sought involvement.
All three are currently represented on a special FIRS Commission chaired by ISF President Gary Ream.
Tensions have continued since this Commission was convened in April, with a crisis meeting having taken place in Switzerland here on Monday (30th May) in a late attempt to ensure harmony.
After a consensus was reached, the Executive Board were told today that governance issues have been resolved.
McConnell claimed there have been "lots of discussion to engage with the wider skateboarding community" and that they have "reached a model which they plan to "communicate about in the next month".
Baseball is likely to be among the most profitable sports at Tokyo 2020 due to its huge popularity in Japan while the inclusion of surfing has been welcomed by International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre.
Aguerre stated "this is a wonderful moment for our sport and for the global surfing family.
"Our relationship with the IOC and inclusion in the Olympic Games has been a strategic priority for the ISA for many years and we are thrilled that we are now once step closer to realising our Olympic dream.
“We are immensely proud of our achievements and the core values that our sport represents.
"Surfing has incredible youth appeal and a unique culture that would offer huge value to the Olympic Movement."
Images: Rock climbing at Melbourne's Hard Rock climbing centre (top), baseball (middle) and Australian surfing legend Layne Beachley (below).
29th April 2016 - TOKYO 2020 UNVEILS SUMMER OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC GAMES EMBLEMS
13th October 2015 - SPORT INCLUDED IN UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT GOALS
30th September 2015 - SPORT CLIMBING LOOKS FORWARD TO OLYMPIC GLORY
28th September 2015 - TOKYO OLYMPICS ORGANISERS CALL FOR FIVE MORE SPORTS FOR 2020 GAMES
22nd January 2014 - WAVEGARDEN TECHNOLOGY TO REVOLUTIONISE ARTIFICIAL SURFING
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