29 Sep 2015

Surfing and climbing at the Olympics

5:47 am on 29 September 2015

Surfing, climbing and baseball could be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after organisers announced their final list of new sports to the world governing body.

New world surfing champ Gabriel Medina

New world surfing champ Gabriel Medina Photo: Photosport

The Tokyo Olympic organisers will propose five sport categories - a baseball/softball joint bid, karate, skateboarding, climbing and surfing - to the International Olympic Committee, which will formally announce new entries for the 2020 Games ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The selection is for sports outside of the core group.

The five new sports would take place over 18 events and include 474 more athletes.

Games hosts are being given a chance to bring in one or more sports popular in their country to boost ratings and attract greater sponsorship.

The International Olympic Committee will make a final decision next August.

The Tokyo organisers narrowed down their previous list by dropping bowling, squash and wushu, a type of martial art.

Fujio Mitarai, chairman of the committee for selecting new sports, said it picked the five sports as they are popular among younger generations and have wide support in Japan.

Under the Olympic reforms approved last December, the IOC has abolished the cap of 28 sports for the summer games while maintaining a limit of 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events. Host cities can propose additional events.

In baseball-mad Japan, the sport - dropped from the Olympics along with softball after the 2008 Beijing Games - would be a money-spinner for Tokyo organisers, worth an estimated extra $US 50 million in ticket sales.

In their past presentation to Tokyo officials, surfing highlighted its "sex appeal" to win over organisers, with the option of implementing cutting-edge artificial wave technology.

Karate officials gathered some 720,000 signatures from across the world to be listed, creating promotion videos showing demonstrations by top players.

Squash misses out again after trying to get into the Olympics for many years with officials saying they are devastated.