Wrestling, squash and baseball make Games cut
Three months after being dropped from the 2020 Olympics, wrestling won the chance of a reprieve yesterday as it made the IOC shortlist for inclusion in the Games.
Also making the cut were squash and a combined baseball-softball bid.
Eight sports were vying for a single opening on the lineup. Eliminated from contention were karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.
The IOC executive board will submit wrestling, squash and baseball-softball to the full IOC assembly for a final decision on September 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"It's a good mix of team sports and individual," IOC vice president Thomas Bach said.
The decision came after the eight sports federations made closed-door presentations to the IOC executive board.
The board voted by secret ballot over several rounds, with wrestling winning on the first round with eight of the 14 votes.
Baseball-softball beat karate 9-5 in a head-to-vote to win its spot on the list. Squash got through in the final round, getting eight votes to defeat wushu with four and sport climbing with two.
Men's baseball and women's softball, which have been off the programme since the 2008 Beijing Games, merged into a single federation to improve their chances of getting back in.
"We are humbled and honoured," said Riccardo Fraccari, co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation. "The decision motivates us to work even harder on behalf of the athletes."
Squash is bidding for an Olympic spot for a third time.
Wrestling, with a tradition dating to the ancient Olympics, was surprisingly cut from the list of core sports by the IOC board in February. The decision caused an international outcry.