Japan looks to bring back baseball to Tokyo 2020 Olympics
February 10, 2014 By FZ.com
BASEBALL-mad Japan is looking to bring back the game to the Olympics, the president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee Yoshiro Mori said yesterday.
Baseball and softball, as well as squash, lost out to wrestling in September for a spot on the Tokyo Games programme.
Speaking on the sidelines at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Mori said that discussions are underway to explore the possibility of bringing Japan's favorite sport back to the Olympics.
"I think the discussions on this issue will continue because many among the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members understand that there is broad support for bringing back baseball and softball to the Olympics. In addition, president Bach has already vowed a flexible stance on the sport entries within the boundary of IOC principles," Mori said in a news conference held in Sochi's Olympic media centre.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said he wanted to get rid of the seven-year rule for a sport's inclusion in the Games in order to refresh the programmeme and tap into potential new viewers and sponsors.
The head of the powerful Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah also said on Feb 5 that baseball and softball should be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, despite failing to make the cut last year, as their popularity in Japan would be beneficial to the Games.
"I've already heard many times that fans around the world, especially in South Korea and Japan, have strong hopes that baseball and softball should re-enter the Olympics," Mori said.
Baseball is also popular in Japan's neighbour South Korea as the national team won the gold medal in Beijing in 2008 before the sport left the Olympic programme.
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