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Thread: 2020 Tokyo Olympics

  1. #91
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    Wushu = weird sport

    There are YouTube vids of all the sports mentioned if you follow the link. I only cut & pasted the Wushu one because our forum only allows one vid per post so to post them all would have been laborious.

    7 Weird Sports That Could Be in the Next Olympics


    Olympic Events
    Credit: Richard Bouhet / AFP / Getty Images

    Sometimes the Olympics feels a lot more like Color War at a teen sleepaway camp than an actual world-class athletic competition. Most kids in America grow up playing Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, or even soccer, minus the bribes and fraud (probably).

    But if you've ever wondered where they pick up unique and sometimes weird sports, short of the bucket brigade and parachute games, that seem to only really have a home in the Olympics, the list of semi-mainstream, non-traditional games is about to get longer.


    Some 26 sports have applied for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Game, ranging from some we know very well, like baseball, softball, and football, to the wild and wacky like korfball. Tug-of-war is looking to make an appearance at the Olympics for the first time since 1920, so look for recruiting offices to pop up near the local all-you-can-eat buffets.

    Here are seven wild and potentially awesome new Olympic sports that have applied.

    Bowls
    This is basically lawn bowling, in which the objective is to roll weighted balls as close to a target without actually hitting it. Because hitting a bowl is an entirely different activity.

    Floorball
    Also known as floor hockey. No ice, no checking, but floorball is pretty badass. Maybe you played it in gym class. A ball is used in place of a puck, goalies wear similar gear, and some of these dudes can flat out dangle.

    Korfball
    Basketball, but without a backboard. Or dribbling. Players pass and shoot a soccer ball — yes, a soccer ball — into a suspended basket at either end of a court that looks just like a basketball court. It was actually in the Games as a demonstration sport in 1920 and 1928.

    Netball
    Very similar to korfball, but netball actually has a net instead of a weaved basket to shoot at. According to Netball America, one of the best parts of the game is the self-confidence participants build through playing netball.

    Flying Disc

    Yes, it's absolutely Ultimate Frisbee. Just like your friends played on the quad in college. But for Olympic medals this time.

    Orienteering
    Basically "The Amazing Race," in which participants use navigational skills, a map, and compass to navigate from place to place against a clock. Mix that with cross-country running, and you get orienteering, a game where the best performance enhancer is an iPhone with Google Maps.

    Wushu
    A Chinese blend of martial arts and dance, similar to a gymnastics floor routine, that can be an exhibition or actual hand-to-hand combat. Competitive wushu is made up of two elements: forms and sparring.


    The International Olympic Committee will narrow the list down to the most, ahem, serious contenders later this month. A final ruling will be made by August 2016, leaving aspiring orienteering participants plenty of time to calibrate their compasses.

    Here is a list of all 26 international sporting federations to apply for a spot in 2020.

    • World Air Sports Federation (FAI)
    • International Federation of American Football (IFAF)
    • World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC)
    • World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS)
    • Bowls Sports World Confederation (CMSB)
    • World Bowling (WB)
    • World Bridge Federation (WBF)
    • World Chess Federation (FIDE)
    • World DanceSport Federation (WDSF)
    • International Floorball Federation (IFF)
    • World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF)
    • World Karate Federation (WKF)
    • International Korfball Federation (IKF)
    • International Netball Federation (INF)
    • International Orienteering Federation (IOF)
    • Federation of International Polo (FIP)
    • International Racquetball Federation (IRF)
    • International Federation of Roller Sports (FIRS)
    • International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC)
    • World Squash Federation (WSF)
    • International Sumo Federation (IFS)
    • International Surfing Association (ISA)
    • Tug of War International Federation (TWIF)
    • World Underwater Federation (CMAS)
    • International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF)
    • International Wushu Federation (IWUF)
    Gene Ching
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  2. #92
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    Wushu on the short list

    Wushu in shortlist of added events for 2020 Olympics
    Posted on: 01:48 PM IST Jun 23, 2015
    IANS

    Tokyo: Wushu has been included in a shortlist of sports seeking to join the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    The Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee accepted eight of the 26 sports that sought to be added to the 2020 Games, including a joint bid from baseball and softball. The seven others were bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing and wushu, reports Xinhua.



    The Tokyo Games organisers could further trim down the list before they submit the final list to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by September 30. The IOC will vote on which events will be added to the 28 core sports at its Session in August ahead of next summer's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

    After years of efforts to be added as an Olympic programme, Wushu, a traditional Chinese sport, finally has another chance after the Chinese failed to add it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    Chinese fans are pleased with the news and at the same time cautious about the sport's Olympic future. But some are concerned that Wushu's similarity with other combat sports like judo and taekwondo may well affect its chance.
    Similarity to judo and taekwondo? I think not.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #93
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    A WSJ poll

    This really doesn't have any impact on the IOC's decision at all, but it is amusing that Wushu is on the bottom.

    3:44 pm JST
    Jun 24, 2015 GAMES
    Vote Results: Bowling, Karate Top Readers’ Choices for Tokyo Olympics
    By WSJ STAFF


    A mother and her son receive a bowling lesson in New Jersey, circa 1955. Getty Images

    One of America’s favorite pastimes and Japan’s traditional martial arts sport were the sports readers would most like to see added to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

    Following the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee’s announcement Monday that it had narrowed down the list of sports that might be added to the Games, Japan Real Time asked readers to pick their favorite.

    Bowling received about half of the roughly 40,000 votes cast as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, while karate got 17,304.

    Ranking well behind in third place was baseball/softball with only 1,008 votes, followed by surfing, roller sports and squash. The two least popular choices were sport climbing and wushu, another martial art.

    The organizational federations of the eight sports will have until July 22 to submit more detailed proposals. The committee will then choose one or two sports and submit its proposal to the International Olympic Committee, which will make the final decision in August next year.

    Gene Ching
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  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    This really doesn't have any impact on the IOC's decision at all, but it is amusing that Wushu is on the bottom.
    Wow...
    It wasn't so long ago that the Japanese were obsessed with Baseball. What happened?
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  5. #95
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    Baseball was voted out

    Baseball first became a demo sport in 1904, made official medal status in 1992, and was voted out alongside Softball last time in London in 2012.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #96
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    Team Trials made SI's website

    2015 Wushu U.S. National Team Trials

    Wushu, also known as Kung-Fu, is a Chinese Martial Art and is one of eight finalist sports being considered for inclusion at the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Japan. It consists of different techniques that involve many acrobatic spins and flips along with power. Former wushu celebrities include Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who practice it in Hollywood action movies. Here are some photos from the recent U.S. Trials.





    32 pix in the gallery but I'm only posting a few SHs.
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  7. #97
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    The way I see it is that Wushu only has hard contenders, karate and squash, to make the 2020 Olympic programme. Of course, I hope Wushu win the entry ticket.



    Regards.

    KC
    Hong Kong

  8. #98
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    hold the phone...

    The IOC recognizes Bridge as a sport?

    Ultimate waits for Olympic moment?
    By Victor Mather / New York Times News Service
    Published Aug 5, 2015 at 12:08AM

    It is a great moment for undergrads hanging out on college quads everywhere. Ultimate Frisbee has been officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

    But this does not mean that the sport — commonly known as simply “ultimate” — will take its place in the Summer Games alongside venerable sports like track, basketball and synchronized swimming.

    Ultimate instead joins a ragtag group of sports that are “recognized” but not actually in the Olympics.

    In June, the IOC chose eight of these as candidates to be added to the 2020 Games: baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing and wushu, a martial art. The choice will be made next summer, and in all likelihood only one or two will make the cut.

    That leaves ultimate on a still lower tier that includes sports like American football, auto racing, chess and sumo.

    Here is a look at 10 of those IOC-recognized sports, any of which could, theoretically, be as big as, well, team handball.

    Air sports

    What is it? A wide variety of sports taking place in the air, including parachuting, hang gliding, ballooning and airplane racing.

    Who is the Babe Ruth of the sport? Larry Tudor was known as Part Bird for his hang gliding feats in the 1980s.

    Who will get the medals if it joins the games? The wealthiest European countries and the United States hold most of the records in these expensive sports.

    Is there a movie about it? Phileas Fogg (David Niven) begins his journey “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956) in a balloon, although he soon changes his mode of transport.

    Bandy

    What is it? Ice hockey on a much larger rink with more players.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Peter the Great was said to have been an enthusiast.

    Who will get the medals? Russia and Sweden dominate competition for both men and women.

    Is there a movie? Not really, but a character in “There Will Be Blood” (2007) is named Bandy.

    Boules

    What is it? Also called bocce, bowls, or pétanque, it involves rolling balls as close as possible to another ball.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Umberto Granaglia, who won 13 world titles.

    Who will get the medals? At the last World Games, an event featuring non-Olympic sports, France and Italy won the men’s gold medals, as you might expect, while China picked up two women’s golds.

    Is there a movie? “Blackball” (2003) features Vince Vaughn as the agent of a bad boy British bowls player.

    Bridge

    What is it? A card game played by partners.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? The actor Omar Sharif was a top-level bridge player and author.

    Who will get the medals? The United States and Western Europe dominate the Bermuda Bowl, the most prestigious event. Bridge could also bring Monaco a chance for its first Olympic medal.

    Is there a movie? “Grand Slam” (1933) starred Paul Lukas and Loretta Young. “It is not an attempt to elucidate the fine points of the game, but merely a popular entertainment,” said The New York Times.

    Dance sport

    What is it? Competitive ballroom dancing.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova, a Lithuanian and a Russian now representing the United States, have won seven consecutive world titles.

    Who will get the medals? The United States, if Bizokas and Demidova are still active.

    Is there a movie? “Strictly Ballroom” (1992) and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012).

    Floorball

    What is it? Indoor hockey using a plastic ball with holes.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Mika Kohonen has been voted best player in the world five times.

    Who will get the medals? Sweden or Finland.

    Is there a movie? According to an IMDB summary of the short film “Onnelliset läskit” (2010): “Little Esa is a talented floor ballplayer who is worshipped by his father. After a well-played game, Esa accidentally bumps into Elvis. The singer instantly becomes Esa’s one and only idol.”

    Life saving

    What is it? Several events that test lifeguard skills, including swimming under obstacles, recovering a submerged dummy from underwater and pulling a teammate by a rope. Events can take place in a pool or in the ocean.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Cornelia Carl of Germany holds the longest standing world record, in the stillwater boat event.

    Who will get the medals? Australia, especially in the open water events.

    Is there a movie? Although lifeguards have played key roles in movies and in “Baywatch,” competitive life saving awaits its definitive cinematic treatment.

    Netball

    What is it? Basketball without backboards, played chiefly by women.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Irene van Dyk of New Zealand has won her country’s sportswoman of the year award and is the most capped player in netball history.

    Who will get the medals? Australia and New Zealand dominate.

    Is there a movie? In the Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy “Made of Honor” (2008), a Scotsman who has only netball experience dominates some Americans in a pickup basketball game.

    Pelota vasca

    What is it? The term covers a variety of Spanish court sports. One variant is the sport known as jai alai, which can be bet on in Florida.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Mariano Juaristi Mendizábal, known as Atano III, dominated the sport in the 1940s.

    Who will get the medals? Spain, of course, but Argentina, Mexico and France have also collected many world championship medals.

    Is there a movie? “Pelota” (1983), a documentary, features Atano III and other greats of the game.

    Tug of war

    What is it? Two sides tug on a rope until one wins. It was included in the Olympics from 1900 to 1920.

    Who is its Babe Ruth? Edgar Aaybe was a Danish journalist covering the 1900 Olympics when he was asked to join the Swedish team. They won.

    Who will get the medals? Western European teams for men. Taiwan has won numerous women’s gold medals at the World Games.

    Is there a movie about it? “Made of Honor,” the movie that gave a shout out to netball, also includes a tug of war scene. All it needs is Patrick Dempsey playing jai alai to be complete.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    The IOC recognizes Bridge as a sport?
    They recognize curling, a sport where you can play through at least 4 or 5 games easily while drunk, overweight and with a cigar hanging out of your mouth.
    The IOC is not recognized as being deeply thoughtful...
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  10. #100
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    I wish the writers of those articles wouldn't equate modern performance wushu with all CMA. It's funny the one article says that Bruce Lee trained it. Modern wushu routines would have been the antithesis of what BL would have practiced.

    It seems that people in general aren't as impressed with the flashy, acrobatic wushu forms to the same degree they were back in the '80s. Most that remain in awe tend to be people who aren't accustomed to seeing wushu performances at all. And as for pure flash, many of the 'XMA' people have surpassed the wushu people in some areas.

    I wonder if MMA will become an Olympic sport. That might resonate.

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    I wish the writers of those articles wouldn't equate modern performance wushu with all CMA. It's funny the one article says that Bruce Lee trained it. Modern wushu routines would have been the antithesis of what BL would have practiced.

    It seems that people in general aren't as impressed with the flashy, acrobatic wushu forms to the same degree they were back in the '80s. Most that remain in awe tend to be people who aren't accustomed to seeing wushu performances at all. And as for pure flash, many of the 'XMA' people have surpassed the wushu people in some areas.

    I wonder if MMA will become an Olympic sport. That might resonate.
    Pankration deserves to be reinstated as Olympic sport!
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  12. #102
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    Karate looking good...

    ...but not wushu.

    Karate, Surfing Among Five Sports Likely to Join 2020 Olympics
    Baseball also likely to return to the games under updated IOC rules that make adding sports easier
    By Eleanor Warnock
    Sept. 28, 2015 6:42 a.m. ET

    TOKYO—Five additional sports are likely to join the Olympic Games in 2020, marking a departure from past Olympics, which it was extremely difficult for new sports to join.

    Tokyo’s organizing committee Monday proposed five additional sports for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Games: karate, sports climbing, surfing, skateboarding and, under a combined bid, baseball and softball. The International Olympic Committee will make the final decision in August, 2016.

    “I think this is a wonderful package of events,” additional event panel head Fujio Mitarai told reporters.

    If ratified by the committee, the new sports would serve as evidence that recent changes to IOC rules have succeeded in making it easier for additional sports to be added.

    In December 2014, the committee nixed a 28-sport limit, and instead set a cap of 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events at the Summer Games. That means there is no limit on the number of sports, only on the number of medals. Monday’s proposal would add 18 medal events and an additional 474 athletes to the menu.

    The new committee guidelines allow the host countries to propose the addition of one or more additional events for their own editions of the Games.

    It would be the first Olympic appearance for all of five sports except for baseball and softball. Baseball joined the Olympics as a medal sport in 1992 and softball joined in 1996. The committee voted a decade ago to remove the sports after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    “We just want to bring it back for all the young girls who had their Olympic dreams interrupted,” said Don Porter, former International Softball Federation president, in an email. Mr. Porter helped softball get its first chance at the Olympics.

    Because the new IOC rules give the host city a say in nominating additional sports, both baseball and karate were seen as strong contenders. Karate’s roots lie in what is now Okinawa prefecture, Japan. Baseball is Japan’s most popular spectator sport. Nippon Professional Baseball had the second-highest total attendance of any domestic sports league in the world in 2014.

    Mr. Mitarai also said appeal to younger people was an important consideration in the panel’s decision.

    “I think that the Olympic Games are an event that should reflect the trends of the times through youth,” he said, citing surfing, climbing and skateboarding as three such sports.

    The other finalists not chosen were bowling, squash and wushu.

    Write to Eleanor Warnock at eleanor.warnock@wsj.com
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  13. #103
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    More on Karate

    Read this over the weekend - it's a more thorough look at the potential of Olympic Karate.

    Which Kind of Karate Has Olympic Chops?
    ‘Noncontact’ style hopes to be in Games, splitting sport’s world; rewarding kicks


    Karate hopes to be an event in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: TORU YAMANAKA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
    By Eleanor Warnock
    Sept. 25, 2015 2:41 p.m. ET
    15 COMMENTS

    TOKYO—Practitioners of one of the world’s most popular martial arts are beating themselves up over which form of the sport should be represented at the Olympics.

    Karate is one of eight events competing to debut in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. But which karate? The group that the International Olympic Committee has recognized to bid—the World Karate Federation—allows only minimal contact. Yet there are millions of karate fighters in other schools who do follow through with their punches.

    Their leaders are crusading to have both styles represented at the Olympics or risk chopping off the dreams of many of the world’s karate kids.

    The road to the Tokyo Olympics has already been bumpy for Japan. The government scrapped plans for a new Olympic Stadium (too expensive) and an Olympic logo (allegations of plagiarism). The decision on new events, due Monday, is the next big test on the horizon.

    Karate has missed a spot in the Olympics three times before, but officials say the Japan venue and support from high-profile politicians means the time is right to strike. Or just lightly strike, depending on whom you talk to.

    It isn’t just honor on the line—there is also money involved. In many countries, inclusion in the Olympics is a prerequisite for receiving government subsidies.

    Sayaka Kato, 22 years old, has a world championship under her belt in Shinkyokushin karate, a full-contact style with sharp kicks and punches that uses minimal body protection.

    “I’ve gone through my entire life with these rules. I don’t want to compete under different rules,” she says.

    The Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization estimates 20 million people around the world practice full-contact karate. Russian President Vladimir Putin has an honorary black belt. The group’s founder was known to kill bulls with his bare hands.

    The group collected a million signatures across Japan last year backing the idea of two karate events at the Olympics, full-contact and noncontact. “Millions of children won’t be able to follow their dreams if there aren’t two rules,” says the full-contact group’s chairman, Kenji Midori.


    Sayaka Kato

    But the campaign has failed to budge the World Karate Federation, which promotes a style known as noncontact karate. The International Olympic Committee has recognized the World Karate Federation as the international governing body of karate since 1999.

    “Having techniques that reward injuring the opponent is not the best message we could give as a sport karate federation,” says World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinos, whose group says it represents more than 90% of organized karate followers.

    Mr. Espinos has seven children, all of them with experience in the martial art. “I would have never brought them to practice karate if they told me it was full-contact karate,” he says.

    There is another option—koshiki or “safe contact” karate, in which contestants wear a chest protector and headgear. The founder of this school’s federation is Masayuki Kukan Hisataka, who taught karate to the late actor Bruce Lee among others.

    Mr. Hisataka says Olympic spectators want to see real hits and action, not shadow boxing.

    “The reason karate didn’t get into the Olympics up until now was precisely that it was a noncontact sport,” says Mr. Hisataka. Ciaran Mitchell, who founded a koshiki contact karate organization in the U.K., says karate needs to excite spectators. “I don’t have anything against noncontact karate, but it’s like archery with no target. I can show you how I aim the bow but I don’t shoot.”

    Though they are skilled at landing blows in the ring, the contact-karate adherents are relative lightweights in the political arena. The head of the Japan Karate Federation, the local noncontact group, is Takashi Sasagawa, a former longtime member of parliament in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and son of the late right-wing billionaire Ryoichi Sasagawa. Mr. Sasagawa served as a state minister under then-Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, and Mr. Mori is now head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

    The fight has extended to history, with each side saying its version is faithful to the martial art’s origins.

    Karate arose over centuries in the southern island of Okinawa, now a part of Japan, with influence from Chinese martial arts. While little is known about the sport in its infancy, historians say it probably wasn’t about being nice to the other fellow. But after the sport was introduced to mainland Japan in the 1920s, noncontact karate evolved.

    Rival schools call the noncontact version too Europeanized and say it benefits long-legged Europeans by rewarding kicks more. “Japan won’t be able to get medals in the Olympics,” says Mr. Hisataka, the “safe contact” proponent.

    But Toshihisa Nagura, general secretary of the World Karate Federation, says the noncontact sport inherits the “kata” portion of karate practiced from the early days, in which practitioners carry out moves against an invisible opponent. “Traditional elements were preserved exactly as the old days,” he says.

    People familiar with the talks say Tokyo Olympic organizers are likely to include karate in their recommendations for new Olympic sports, which must be ratified by the IOC next year. Others under consideration include bowling, squash and surfing.

    Proponents of full-contact karate say they will keep fighting if karate gets in the Olympics, pointing out that the Games feature multiple forms of many sports like swimming and wrestling.

    Ms. Kato, the 22-year-old karate champion, sees the culmination of dreams that began when she was a little girl and watched the powerful kicks of her older brother when he was practicing karate.

    “I want to win a gold medal with our rules,” she said.

    Write to Eleanor Warnock at eleanor.warnock@wsj.com
    Gene Ching
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  14. #104
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    not completely surprised

    You really would have to had drank up all the Kool-Aid to be completely surprised.

    Wushu "disappointed" but "not completely surprised" by Tokyo 2020 failure
    By Daniel Etchells Saturday, 3 October 2015


    Anthony Goh, executive vice-president of the International Wushu Federation, is now looking ahead to the sport's attempts to earn a place on the 2024 Olympic programme ©Getty Images

    The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) was “disappointed” but “not completely surprised” after the sport it governs missed out on a recommendation to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic programme, executive vice-president Anthony Goh has said.

    Wushu was one of three sports cut from the proposed additions earlier this week along with bowling and squash.

    Baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were the five selected, with a final decision due at next summer's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Rio de Janeiro.

    "When we heard the results from the Tokyo 2020 Committee we were disappointed although not completely surprised," Goh told insidethegames.

    "The seven sports we were competing with all had strong attributes, but we feel wushu has risen to the level of world-class sport.

    "We will continue our efforts towards inclusion [at] the Olympic Games and we feel very optimistic that 2024 will be wushu’s year.

    "Wushu is developing rapidly around the world now, and our newly-launched social media campaign will undoubtedly give our sport a digital potential to reach a new generation."


    Wushu was one of eight sports in the frame for Tokyo 2020 inclusion, but missed out along with bowling and squash ©IWUF

    Wushu’s latest disappointment follows its failure to make the final shortlist in the first Tokyo 2020 bidding process, which culminated in wrestling retaining its place on the Olympic sports programme with a clear-cut victory at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

    Owing to its cultural significance in China, the IOC allowed organisers of the Beijing 2008 Olympics to hold a wushu tournament in parallel with the Games, despite the sport not being an official demonstration sport.

    The tournament helped give wushu a huge global boost with IWUF membership increasing from 116 to 149 countries following the conclusion of the Games.

    Wushu was one of four demonstration sports at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, alongside climbing, roller skating and skateboarding.
    What 'newly-launched social media campaign' is this?
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  15. #105
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    "we were disappointed although not completely surprised,"

    Compare Goh's response above to that of the other rejected sport, squash.

    Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:57am EDT Related: SPORTS
    Squash 'devastated' by Tokyo Olympics snub
    TOKYO

    The head of the World Squash Federation (WSF) said he was devastated for the sport's millions of followers after squash was again overlooked for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Squash was among eight sports short-listed for possible inclusion at the 2020 Olympics but failed to make the final list of five sports, recommended by Tokyo's organizers on Monday.

    The five proposed for the 2020 Summer Games were baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing. Squash, bowling and wushu all missed out.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make the final decision next year on which sports will be accepted for Tokyo, choosing from the five that were recommended.

    "I don't believe we could have done more to get our message across to both the Tokyo 2020 Games hosts and the IOC how Squash could bring something special as an addition to the Programme," WSF president Narayana Ramachandran said in a statement.

    "I know I speak on behalf of the millions of squash players around the world for whom the opportunity of seeing their sport participate in the Olympics has been an absolute priority -- and, like me, they will be heartbroken."

    Squash, played in more than 185 countries, was one of three sports short-listed for full inclusion at the Tokyo Olympics when the IOC voted on the program at its 125th Session in Buenos Aires two years ago.

    Wrestling won that vote for inclusion ahead of baseball/softball and squash but the losers were thrown a lifeline when the IOC later decided that future Olympic host cities could select extra sports they wanted to see contested at the Games.

    "However, this is not the end for squash," added Ramachandran. "Our sport, played by vast numbers week in and week out, flourishes at every level from recreational to events around the world.

    "We will go from strength to strength while we continue to target participation at a future date in the Games."

    Squash has made great strides in modernizing the sport, with the Professional Squash Association (PSA) taking the game to iconic venues such as New York City's Grand Central Station.

    Alex Gough, the PSA chief executive, said the latest setback should not detract from its success.

    "The Olympic Games should be the pinnacle of any athlete's career and inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Games would be a defining moment for squash and our athletes and to know that dream is once again out of reach is naturally a difficult proposition for the sport," Gough said in a statement.

    "But I feel we can take a lot of positives from the huge ground we have made over the last decade -- transitioning into a bourgeoning global sport that is now broadcast in almost 100 countries worldwide."

    (Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; additonal reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Julian Linden)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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