Don’t fret baseball and softball fans in Japan: there is still hope the two sports could feature at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
New International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reassured that baseball and softball could return at the Winter Games.
“This will be under discussion,” Bach told a news conference in the Japanese capital Wednesday. “We will have the first broad discussion in December in a meeting of the executive board will present its first discussion paper to the IOC session in Sochi.”
The two sports were dropped from the 2012 program after a 2005 vote by the IOC.
They failed to be reinstated for the Olympic program for 2020 and 2024 at an IOC vote on September, but Tokyo’s winning bid to host the Games has prompted calls in Japan for them to be included in seven years’ time.
“I am open for more flexibility in the Olympic programme,” Bach said. “But first we have to see what the rest of my colleagues in the IOC think.”
Baseball and softball are extremely popular in Japan and widely played across the country. In April of this year, softball and baseball joined together in one bid to support the “Return of the Olympics” campaign for the 2020 Olympics, against wrestling and squash. However, last month in September, a decision was made and unfortunately for softball and baseball, wrestling won the bid with 49 votes against softball/baseball’s 24 votes and squash’s 22 votes.
Japan already has plenty of venues for baseball and softball if the sports were included in the Olympics lineup.
Meanwhile, it is scaling down a mega-structure which will be used during the Games. The planned 80,000-seat main stadium was said to be too big and expensive.
By Maesie Bertumen