IOC drives push for gender equality, dynamic formats and exciting competition

In taking the quantum of women participation to 48.8 %, a 3.2 per cent increase from the last Olympics in Rio, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved big changes to the overall Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020.

IOC president Thomas Bach attends a press conference after an executive board meeting, at the Olympic Museum, in Lausanne on Friday.   -  AP

 

In taking the quantum of women participation to 48.8 %, a 3.2 per cent increase from the last Olympics in Rio, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved big changes to the overall Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020.

A number of men’s events have been replaced by women’s events or mixed events, apart from the introduction of 15 new events.

At the same time, the number of athletes competing in the Olympics has been reduced by 285, with athletics losing 105, along with weightlifting (64), wrestling (56), sailing (30), shooting (30), rowing (24), aquatics (22) and water polo (18).

READ: Despite achieving gender equality, shooting loses 30 athletes

With the approval of the 3 x 3 format as an additional event, basketball stands to gain 64 players.

Boxing, canoeing, rowing, sailing and shooting have been able to adjust their events, by transferring men’s events to women’s or mixed events, without resorting to any change in the total number of events.

Whereas, aquatics gains two new events, men’s 800 metres and women’s 1500 metres, apart from a 4 x 100 metres mixed relay. In fact, the total number of mixed events will double from the nine in Rio, to 18 in Tokyo.

Athletics will also have a mixed 4 x 400 metres relay. Archery will have an additional mixed team event, while BMX cycling, track cycling and fencing will see two additional events each. Judo, table tennis and triathlon will each have an additional mixed event, while weightlifting will lose one men’s weight category.

In boxing, there will be a transfer of 44 athletes from men’s quota to women. It will be 55 for canoeing, 30 in all in the cycling events and 38 in judo.

The IOC had approved the introduction of five new sports, sport climbing, skateboard, karate, baseball/softball and surfing to the Olympic programme last year. They will have 18 events in all, 50 per cent each for men and women, without any mixed events.

“I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women,” the IOC president Thomas Bach was quoted, in an official statement.

Even though it is driving towards gender equality, it will not be 50 per cent female participation in many disciplines.

In fact, some of the disciplines like aquatics and gymnastics, the percentage of women will be considerably higher than men. It will be 664 men and 746 women in aquatics, mainly owing to 104 women in synchronised swimming.

Athletics will have 988 male and 912 female, boxing (206, 80), cycling (300, 228), football (288, 216), gymnastics (114, 210) and wrestling (192, 96). Wresting has a big difference as the men have the additional Greco-Roman section, apart freestyle events for both.

In the 28 disciplines, there will be 5440 men and 5176 women. The five additional sports will have 264 men and 210 women, for a total of 474. With the big changes, the IOC is proud to have the most gender balanced Games in the history of the Olympics in terms of both athletes and events in Tokyo 2020.