Sport Climbing gets nod as potential sport for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
- Tuesday 29th September 2015
Sept 29th; 2015
Following early knock-backs, sport climbing was yesterday included within a list of five sports by the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel for possible inclusion in the 2010 Tokyo Games.
Under this initiative, the game hosts have been given the chance to bring one or more new sports into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally," said a statement from the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.
The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), along with national federations/organisations, has been promoting sport climbing as an Olympic event for some considerable time. However, earlier announcements this year didn’t include sport climbing in the list of sports being considered. That has now changed and sport climbing, along with events from four other sports – baseball/softball, karate, skateboard and surfing – are included on the list of additional sports/events.
The plan is that sport climbing will comprise two additional events from the 18 proposed. A combined bouldering, lead and speed climbing event is proposed for both male and female competitors. Numbers of competing athletes is to be restricted to just 40 in total; 20 in both the male and female events. The 18 additional events will add 474 athletes in total to the already considerable numbers involved.
In support of sport climbing’s inclusion, it was argued that the sport has now a huge participation world-wide – some 35 million climbers and considerably higher than 25 million estimated just two years previous in 2013. It’s estimated that the average age for climbers is 23 years old and that around 50% of climbers are under 25 years old – many of who are attracted to indoor facilities which are now present in over 140 countries.
The ‘selling point’ and the hook that the IFSC are hoping that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will take is that climbing is "An unforgettable spectacle - fresh, young sport capitalising on the urban/action trend." Whilst many climbers are in favour of sport climbing inclusion in the Olympic movement there are those which don’t support this fearing the possible damage to the sport.
The final decision will be made by the IOC in August 2016.