Olympic addition of baseball more likely

Jiji Press LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Jiji Press) — The International Olympic Committee decided Wednesday to submit to its next general meeting in August a proposal to add a total of 18 events in five sports as a package for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

This is a major step forward in Japan’s efforts to add the five sports — baseball for men and softball for women, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing — to the Tokyo Games, given the possibility that some sports might be excluded if the advisability of addition is discussed individually.

The host city is allowed to make a proposal on sports to be added to the quadrennial event.

“It was our strong desire” to have the five sports discussed as a package, said Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.”

Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said, “I’m relieved but would like to stay vigilant.”

John Coates, IOC vice president and chair of the IOC coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, said he would be very surprised if the five sports are not approved at the IOC annual meeting, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, suggesting that he sees no problem with their addition to the program of the 2020 Games.

Katsuhiko Kumazaki, commissioner of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, or NPB, welcomed the IOC’s latest decision. “It’s a big step forward. We’re happy that we could pass a milestone,” he said.

Kumazaki also said, “The [Japanese] baseball community will spare no effort and cooperation until an official decision [on the addition of baseball] is reached at the IOC session in August.”

Regarding U.S. Major League Baseball’s reluctance to send players to the Olympic Games, Mori, former prime minister of Japan, said, “Japanese officials have to work frantically,” calling for stepped-up efforts to talk MLB into sending players to Tokyo.

Kumazaki said NPB will give further support to the World Baseball Softball Confederation, which is in talks with MLB about player participation in the Olympic Games. “We’ll do all we can,” he said.Speech

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