Squash, wrestling, baseball/softball on 2020 shortlist
30 May 2013
2020: Wrestling, baseball/softball and squash will compete for one open spot at the 2020 Olympics.
Cable wakeboard, karate, roller sport, sport climbing and wushu were dropped from the field Wednesday, failing to make the shortlist set by the IOC Executive Board meeting on the sidelines of the SportAccord Convention in St. Petersburg.
The secret ballot followed a series of eight 30-minute presentations from the sports – 20 minutes to pitch the EB and 10 for questions from its members.
“The Executive Board received excellent presentations today from eight international federations,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement.
“It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires. I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”
The three sports recommended by the EB now advance to a final vote at the IOC Session scheduled for September in Buenos Aires.
Wednesday's shortlist came less than four months after wrestling was excluded by the EB from a list of 25 "core" sports for the 2020 Olympics.
According to Franco Carraro, chair of the IOC Program Commission charged with compiling the report that informed EB members ahead of their February decision – and Wednesday's reverse on wrestling – the other five sports knew the process coming in.
"They knew the rules," he told a packed press conference in St. Petersburg.
"They decided to try, and we are happy with the three but unhappy with the five."
Carraro stressed his hopes that cable wakeboard, karate, roller sport, sport climbing and wushu gained good experience for their sports and for their athletes.
"Why three and not four?" the Italian asked.
"Because after the full picture was presented, the decision of the EB was to choose three."
Asked by Around the Rings about the baseball/softball bid and its lack of Major League Baseball guarantees, IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi emphasised the recent merger of the two sports into the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
"This was a very important step," he said, also referencing "reassurances from a number of leagues" showcased by the WBSC during its presentation to the EB earlier Wednesday.
"We're in the seventh inning, and now we have to hit a homerun," WBSC Co-President Don Porter said minutes after the EB announcement.
"We're in the first round," added FILA president Nenad Lalovic. "We have more to go."
In a statement, World Squash Federation president N Ramachandran said: “This is a huge milestone in our quest to join the Olympic Program and I would like to thank the Executive Board for the faith it has placed in squash."
Around The Rings