Friday, 12 June 2009

New sports for 2016 Olympics – media review

Baseball, golf, karate, softball, squash, rugby and roller sports are competing for up to two places on the 2016 Olympic programme with a decision due in October.

The IOC executive board meets next week in Lausanne to hear presentations from the seven sports.

A maximum of two sports can come in but the IOC could also vote to leave the 26-sport programme as it is.

Here are some of the stories making the headlines in the lead-up to next week’s event:

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Rod Gimour, squash correspondent for The Telegraph, reckons the sport ticks all the boxes to rejoin the Olympic programme.

He argues there is no higher achievement for a squash player than the Olympics gold; venues are cost effective; the glasscourts can be placed in a sexy location at the heart of the city; and the sport has global appeal.

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Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie will plead golf’s case in Lausanne, reports Reuters.

Ty Votaw, to the Olympic Golf Committee's executive director, said leading golfers and a global audience of more than half a billion people are the sport's biggest assets.

The sport was last played at the 1904 St Louis Games.

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Softball president Don Porter says he feels ‘optimistic’ that the sport will gain re-inclusion to the 2016 games, reports AP.

He said: ‘I think we're getting the message across […] that we are doing things to make progress and improvements, and we're getting some good feedback from them.’

Softball, which has been dropped from the 2012 games, has been fighting the perception that it lacks global appeal.

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In an article on Reuters, baseball’s officials insist the 2016 bid cities already have the necessary facilities to stage baseball competitions.

Baseball federation chief Harvey Schiller said: ‘If baseball was not vying for the Olympic Games, it would be a sport the Olympics would probably seek to include because of its global impact, the revenue potential, its all-inclusive nature, its youth participation and its affordability.’

The IOC president Jacques Rogge says baseball would gain an advantage by including the best players from the US major leagues, according to AP.

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