Thursday, 13 August 2009

Olympic chiefs meet on new sports

The International Olympic Committee's executive board are set to announce new sports for the Olympics in 2016 at around 1400 BST on Thursday.
Only two will be included from a shortlist of seven, but those two will not gain the final not until October.
Golf and rugby sevens look to be favourites to be added to the programme but softball and squash both have hopes of gaining the recommendation.
The seven-sport shortlist also includes baseball, karate and roller sports.
The 15-member board will vote by secret ballot to cut the field to "no more than four" sports, which will be submitted for ratification by the full 106-member IOC assembly in Copenhagen in October.
"We hope to be able to make a unanimous decision, but it will be hard to find a common denominator," executive board member Gerhard Heiberg said.
The board will vote over several rounds, with the sport receiving the fewest votes eliminated each time.
"I read and heard that golf and rugby were the favourites, but I've heard some reservations as well," said board member Denis Oswald. "It's pretty open and difficult to predict."
Olympic golf was played in Paris in 1900 and four years later in St Louis.
If it does get in, I think it would be great for golf and some of the other small countries that are now emerging in golf
Tiger Woods
One of the main issues has been whether top players will compete in the Olympics, when they already have a full schedule but superstar Tiger Woods indicated on Tuesday he would play.
"If I'm not retired by then, yeah," said Woods, who will be 40 in 2016, on the eve of the PGA Championship.
"I think that golf is a truly global sport and I think it should have been in the Olympics a while ago.
"If it does get in, I think it would be great for golf and some of the other small countries that are now emerging in golf."
Rugby union, which was last played at the 1924 Olympics in the full 15-a-side format, hopes to return in the faster, short-format seven-a-side version for both men and women, which is part of the Commonwealth Games.
Softball and baseball are seeking a return after being voted off the programme four years ago.
Baseball - which has failed to bring top US major league players to the Olympics - is offering a shortened five-day, eight-team format.
Softball, which rejected a proposal to combine its bid with baseball, has stressed its work in developing the sport among youth and women in the Middle East and Africa and in keeping free of doping scandals.
The World Karate Federation, comprising 180 national governing bodies, proposes to award 10 gold medals in five classes for each of the men's and women's competitions.
The International Federation for Roller Sports hopes to stage races on city streets for men and women, but not rink hockey or skateboarding.
And the World Squash Federation hopes that television-friendly, glass-enclosed courts can counter the sport's reputation as one that struggles to translate the speed of play to viewers.
Squash is thought to be the second choice of many IOC officials, which could count in its favour if a compromise is needed.

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