Sport climbing fighting for spot in next Olympic Games

Liu Hiu Ying of Hong Kong completes in the Sport Climbing Women's Lead Final on Day 4 of the 3rd Asian Beach Games Haiyang 2012 on June 20, 2012 in Haiyang, China.
Liu Hiu Ying of Hong Kong completes in the Sport Climbing Women's Lead Final on Day 4 of the 3rd Asian Beach Games Haiyang 2012 on June 20, 2012 in Haiyang, China. Getty Images / Feng Li

ATHLETES are used to climbing mountains to win Olympic gold.

Soon they may have to climb rocks. Well, purpose-built rock walls anyway.

The competition for inclusion in the 2020 Games is continuing to heat up.

While the field for hosting duties is down to three - Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid - seven sports are still eyeing a berth on the biggest stage in the world.

As well as baseball and softball, roller derby, wakeboarding, karate and Wushu (a Chinese martial arts), sport climbing is also vying for the right to be added to the program.

The International Olympic Committee will decide in September next year whether to include one of the sports at the 2020 Games.

With the maximum 28 sports featuring in Rio in 2016 - including the newly added golf and rugby sevens - one existing sport would have to be dropped for one of the seven hopefuls to be added.

To be considered for inclusion in the Olympics, a sport must be widely practiced in at least 75 countries, spread over four continents.

Baseball and softball were the first sports to be omitted from the Games since polo in 1936 when they were both culled from London 2012.

IOC officials attended the sport climbing world championships in Paris in September, and will hear a submission next month from members of the International Federation of Sport Climbing.

Squash, which has had two failed bids to be added to the Olympics, is under the IOC microscope this week with officials attending the Hong Kong Open.

"Hong Kong is the perfect place for the IOC's inspection," world No.1 player Malayasian Nicol David told the South China Morning Post.

"I have no doubt that we can impress the IOC."

Leading players also recently tried to raise the sport's profile by staging flash mob dances in Malaysia and New York.

Topics:  baseball olympic games softball squash

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