International Olympic Committee

One unlucky sport set to be axed from Olympics

Squash and karate among favourites to be introduced to Games at another's expense

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 5:45am

One sport federation will not be happy today as the executive board of the International Olympic Committee is set to vote to have a sport removed from the 2020 Summer Games.

The executive board will then vote at a later date on what sport should replace it at those Games with squash - which lost out to golf and rugby sevens for the 2016 edition - and karate among the front-runners to do so.

Such decisions do not sit easily with some of the IOC members outside the executive board who believe that such matters should be debated and decided upon by all of them.

They will, however, have the chance to vote their approval or not of the sport being voted off the 28 sports roster and its replacement at the IOC congress in Buenos Aires in early September.

"I don't think it is a very good idea to have such a vote in Buenos Aires," an IOC member not on the executive board said. "There is enough to be decided on there in the shape of the host city of the 2020 Games and the successor to Jacques Rogge as president.

[The pentathlon] is very expensive to put on and is slightly anachronistic, and doesn't look terrific on television

"It is many members' feelings that the sport should have been decided upon next year."

Sports thought to be most at risk are badminton, taekwondo and modern pentathlon.

Badminton's image took a massive blow at last year's Olympics with the scandal that saw eight women's doubles players from South Korea, Indonesia and China disqualified for trying to lose matches.

Badminton has the heavyweight support of IOC vice-president Craig Reedie and its removal would upset the Chinese.

Taekwondo has been in a precarious position for a while, although it was seen to have had a successful London Games, not least because of the gold medal won by exuberant 19-year-old Welsh star Jade Jones.

Jones' win also helped to shed the sport's image of being solely the preserve of Asian athletes.

Modern pentathlon would seem to be the most at risk. "It is very expensive to put on and is slightly anachronistic, and doesn't look terrific on television," one IOC member said.

However, it gained widespread praise for its showing at the London Games and with Juan Antonio Samaranch Jnr - long-time vice-president of the sport's governing body - sitting on the executive board they will at least have a powerful voice arguing in their favour.