Sports the young love on the menu for 2020?

TOKYO - The organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have nominated eight new sports for possible inclusion, including baseball.

The list, which will be narrowed down in August before being presented to the International Olympic Committee for a decision, comprises baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, surfing and martial arts.

"We have chosen them based on three principles the Tokyo committee has decided," said the panel's chairman Fujio Mitarai.

According to the committee, new sports to be added to the 2020 Olympics should be popular among young people and "add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide" and their selection should be "open and fair".

"There was no objection. It was decided unanimously," said Mitarai.

Both softball and baseball - which are combined in the nomination list - are hugely popular in Japan, where professional teams are avidly followed. The sports last featured at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Mitarai said he could not give details of why each sport was on the list, but the inclusion of pastimes like bowling and surfing was sure to be popular.

"One thing I can say is that they're popular among young people. Many are engaged in them globally," he said.

Meanwhile, Paris and Budapest are set to enter the race for the 2024 Olympics today.

France will use the annual Olympic Day to proclaim its bid, while Budapest's city council will vote to become the fifth competitor.

The United States city of Boston, Rome and Germany's Hamburg are already lobbying for votes.

The campaign will be long however and other cities could still enter.

The Azerbaijan capital, Baku, which is hosting the first European Games, could soon make a pitch.

Qatar's capital Doha is also considering a move.

Bids must be officially submitted by Sept 15 this year and the IOC will make a decision at a congress in Lima on Sept 15, 2017.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Sports the young love on the menu for 2020?'. Print Edition | Subscribe