Oh pitches base­ball, 8 sports bid for spot at Olympics


Base­ball called on Ja­panese home run king Sada­haru Oh and karate used a live demon­stra­tion as eight sports made their case Fri­day to be in­cluded on the pro­gram for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Base­ball and soft­ball are mak­ing a com­bined bid. The other sports mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions to or­ga­niz­ers were squash, surf­ing, bowl­ing, roller sports, sport climb­ing and wushu.

Un­der the “Olympic Agenda 2020” re­forms, the IOC agreed to abol­ish the 28-sport limit to the Sum­mer Games and in­stead use an events-based sys­tem that would al­low new com­pe­ti­tions to come in with­out in­creas­ing the cur­rent size of about 10,500 ath­letes and 310 medal events.

Host cities are al­lowed to pro­pose the in­clu­sion of one or more ad­di­tional events for their games. Af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tions are fin­ished on Satur­day, Tokyo or­ga­niz­ers will make their rec­om­men­da­tions to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee by Sept. 30.

The IOC de­ci­sion on which sport or sports to add will be made in Au­gust 2016, just ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Men’s base­ball and women’s soft­ball, sports that were dropped af­ter the 2008 Bei­jing Games, are con­sid­ered fa­vorites be­cause of their pop­u­lar­ity in Ja­pan.

“The Ja­panese peo­ple want to see base­ball and soft­ball,” Oh said. “We al­ready have the fa­cil­i­ties so we re­ally hope base­ball and soft­ball are in the Olympics.”

Ma­jor League Base­ball has said it will not sus­pend its sched­ule, which clashes with the Olympics, to al­low play­ers to par­tic­i­pate in Tokyo, but Ja­pan pro­fes­sional base­ball pledged its full sup­port.

“We will send the best of the best,” NPB com­mis­sioner Kat­suhiko Ku­mazaki said,

Karate, also con­sid­ered a strong can­di­date, drew on its Ja­panese ori­gins to ap­peal to or­ga­niz­ers and took the unique step of pro­vid­ing a live demon­stra­tion with three ath­letes who are all as­pir­ing to rep­re­sent Ja­pan at the Tokyo Games.

“Karate orig­i­nated in Ja­pan and em­bod­ies the spirit of mar­tial arts,” said Toshi­hisa Nagura, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the World Karate Fed­er­a­tion. “More than 100 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide prac­tice karate.”

Other sports such as bowl­ing and roller sports boasted of their ap­peal to youth and the unique­ness they would bring to the Olympics.

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