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Baseball-softball, four more sports take next step toward Olympics

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic leaders have recommended the addition of baseball-softball and four other sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

IOC executive board member C.K. Wu tells The Associated Press that the board backed the proposed inclusion of the combined baseball-softball bid, as well as surfing, karate, skate boarding and sport climbing.

The decision, which was widely expected, came Wednesday on the opening day of a three-day board meeting in Lausanne.

The five sports were presented as a package.

The recommendation will go to a vote of the full International Olympic Committee at its general assembly in Rio de Janeiro in August on the eve of the Summer Games.

IOC vice president John Coates says the executive board was unanimous in its decision to recommend the addition of five sports to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He says baseball-softball, surfing, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing were approved as a single package on Wednesday. They will be presented that way when the recommendation is put to a vote at the IOC general assembly in Rio de Janeiro in August on the eve of the Summer Games.

Coates says the five represent a “good balance between sports that are very popular in Japan and those better engaging youth.”

He notes that baseball and softball have a huge following in Japan, and karate has a long tradition in the country.

Coates says sport climbing is an emerging sport in Europe, surfing offers a “whole new culture” to the Olympics and skateboarding is particularly appealing to youth.

Coates said the IOC’s recommendation follows an agreement between the International Roller Skating Federation and the International Skateboarding Federation. He says the ISF will run the sport at the Olympics.

MORE: Baseball qualifying for 2020 Tokyo Games would be tricky

Tokyo 2020 sets date to announce proposed added Olympic sports

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Tokyo Olympic organizers will announce which sports they propose to add for the 2020 Games on Sept. 28.

Baseball and softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing and wushu were named finalist sports to be considered to be added for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on June 21.

After Tokyo officials name the proposed added events from that list, the International Olympic Committee will make a final decision in August as to which sports will be added for 2020, if any.

Olympic host cities can propose adding sports for their Games under Agenda 2020 reforms passed by the International Olympic Committee in December.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said added sports will promote “the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal” and engage “the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.”

Baseball and softball, part of the Olympics from 1996 through 2008, are a joint bid and thought to be the favorite to be added for Tokyo 2020, if any sports are added. More on baseball-softball here.

Squash, along with baseball-softball, lost out on being added for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics when the IOC voted to keep wrestling in the Olympic program on Sept. 8, 2013.

The following sports applied for inclusion in Tokyo 2020 but failed to make the finalist list:

Air sports, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, football, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports and waterski and wakeboard.

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