IOC approves five new sports for Tokyo 2020

The decision by the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro was the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history.

The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics.   -  AP

Baseball made a comeback in Olympic Games as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today agreed to add it to the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics along with karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing.

The decision by the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro was the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history. Plans call for staging the skateboarding and sports climbing events in temporary venues installed in urban settings, marking a historic step in bringing the Games to young people and reflecting the trend of urbanisation of sport.

“We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them," said IOC President Thomas Bach. "Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world's greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

The additional sports in Tokyo will not impact the athlete or event quotas of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities. The IOC considered a variety of factors when assessing the proposal, including the impact on gender equality, the youth appeal of the sports and the legacy value of adding them to the Tokyo Games.

The inclusion of the new sports will add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, which will have the same number of teams but different player totals, because softball teams have 15 players whilst baseball teams have 24.

Tokyo 2020 will rely heavily on existing and temporary venues to stage the competitions.