TOKYO – Baseball and softball were joined by youth-oriented sports such as surfing and skateboarding as Japanese organizers on Monday recommended the inclusion of five additional sports and 18 events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Karate and sports climbing were also on the list proposed by the Tokyo organizing committee. Bowling, squash and wushu failed to make the cut from the list of eight finalists.

The recommendation will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will make a final decision in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.

Under the “Olympic Agenda 2020” program adopted by the IOC last December, host cities are allowed to propose one or more additional sports for their games.

The proposed new events would add 474 athletes to the Tokyo Games, a total that fits within the cap of 500 additional athletes set by the IOC.

The IOC has repeatedly stressed that any additional sports must have a strong youth appeal, something which Tokyo organizers sought to address.


“This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally,” the organizing committee said in a statement. “This will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic movement and its values.”

Twenty-six sports had originally applied for consideration. The eight sports made a short list that was announced in June.

Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since the 2008 Beijing Games, and their proposed inclusion as a joint bid had been considered a virtual certainty because of the high popularity of those sports in Japan.

“We’ve reached second base,” World Baseball Softball Confederation president Riccardo Fraccari told The Associated Press in Italy. “Now we’ve got to wait until Rio to get home. We’ve done a ton of work over the last few years in terms of unification and tournaments. So it’s a nice acknowledgment for many athletes.”

Under Tokyo’s recommendations, the men’s baseball tournament would consist of six teams and 144 total players, while the women’s softball competition would have six teams and 90 players.

Fraccari had proposed an eight-team baseball tournament with two groups of four teams each playing over five days. The smaller number of teams poses a challenge for the governing body.


“With six teams we need to analyze what type of format we can arrange,” Fraccari said. “We have to rearrange everything and see what we can propose.”

There are still no assurances that U.S. major league players would take part.

“We’re in discussions and we have a great relationship with MLB,” Fraccari said. “We have plenty of time to discuss before 2020. The important thing now is this choice and that the IOC confirms it. The rest can wait.”

Karate would have eight men’s and women’s events and a total of 80 athletes; skateboarding proposes two street and two park events for 80 athletes; sports climbing has two events in bouldering, lead and speed combined for 40 athletes; and surfing would have two shortboard events for 40 competitors.

International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre called Tokyo’s announcement “‘an extraordinary moment for our sport.”

“Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the program,” he said.

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