IOC (International Olympic Committee)

Sports face anxious wait before realising their fate today

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 July, 2005, 12:00am

London organisers will find out today if there is to be a change of sports in the 2012 games programme. A review of the 28 existing Olympic sports - which form the programme for the 2008 games in Beijing - tops the agenda at today's IOC session.

'The review will be the first thing on the agenda,' said Giselle Davis, communications director of the IOC yesterday. 'We will know by afternoon if any of the existing sports will not be seen at the games in 2012.'

Since 1936, sports have regularly been added and it was not until its extraordinary session in Mexico in 2002 that the IOC decided to cap the programme at 28 sports, 301 events and 10,500 athletes and to systematically review the composition of the sports programme after each Olympic Games by the Olympic Programme Commission.

'This will be the first time that we conduct such a review, but I don't think there will be any major change of the current programmes for the London games,' Wei Juizhong, a member of the commission from China, said yesterday. 'It is also because the five applicant sports are not good enough to mount serious challenges to the current programmes.'

To widen the review to sports that potentially could enhance quality and popularity, the IOC had also selected five other sports as replacements. They are golf, roller sports, rugby sevens, karate and squash.

A secret ballot would be held for each of the 28 current sports today and those which failed to gain a simple majority would not be included in London.

An executive board meeting will then take place in the evening to discuss whether they would submit any sport from the applicant list for members' approval. To qualify, the sport would need a two-thirds majority.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, an IOC member from Hong Kong, said he had a dual role.

'I have received letters from national swports associations of current Olympic programmes asking for my help to keep them in the list. However, I am also president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, and have the responsibility to take care of long-term development of sports in Hong Kong.'

The Hong Kong sports chief refused to say whether he would vote out any of the current 28 sports.

But he added: 'Sports like squash and rugby sevens have had good development in Hong Kong and I would consider rendering my support to them.'