Bowling among 26 sports applying for inclusion in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

    06/14/15

    World Bowling News

    Organizers for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo release a list of 26 sports, including tenpin bowling, that have applied to be on the Olympic program

    2020TokyoOlympicsLogo.jpg The organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have released a list of 26 sports, including Tenpin Bowling, that have applied for inclusion in the games. All 26 federations are IOC recognized.

    Since the adoption of IOC's "Olympic Agenda 2020" reforms approved in December, Tokyo, as the host city of the 2020 Summer Olympics, can propose the addition of one or more sports to the program of their own accord. Each international federation had until June 8 to submit applications to be considered.

    Bowling's contenders for a place to enter the Olympic program are in alphabetical order: air sports, American football, baseball-softball, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, karate, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, sumo, surfing, tug of war, underwater, waterski and wakeboard, and wushu.

    Only seven IOC recognized federations have chosen not to apply for admission into the 2020 Games.

    The Tokyo Organizing Committee will sort through the interested federations to produce a shortlist of candidates which will be announced by Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, by Monday, June 22.

    According to Around the Rings, probably the most influential internet presence on the Olympics, the organizers have three criteria to decide which sports will be on the shortlist: Promoting the overall Olympic movement and youth initiatives, adding value to the Games by engaging the Japanese and worldwide audience and having a selection procedure that is fair and open.

    IOC President Thomas Bach said earlier this week that he wants sports with youth appeal and that he is confident that this call for youth will be reflected in the proposal.

    2014WYCWorldBowlingPresidentKevinDornberger.jpgWorld Bowling president Kevin Dornberger (pictured right) is confident that bowling will be on the shortlist. "We match up pretty well with the criteria, including gender equity, universality and youth appeal", Dornberger told Bowlingdigital.

    "There are organized youth programs in over 100 countries. I challenge you to walk into any bowling center and not see kids bowling, often with their families, which is one of our strengths."

    World Bowling also highlights its prominence in Japan. "Japan is our second-largest member federation, behind the United States, in terms of participation", said Dornberger, knowing that Bowling would definitely add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese.

    "12 million Japanese bowl regularly", Dornberger stated. "It is a sport that is part of their culture."

    No wonder that the biggest bowling centers in the world (according to Guinness Book of World Records) can be found in Japan. Inazawa Grand Bowl is the biggest bowling center in the world on one floor whose 116 lanes span 91,494 square feet without any pillars, while Nagoya Grand Bowl is the biggest bowling center in the world by number of lanes staring 156 lanes on three floors.

    The Tokyo OC has stated that sports which would not require new venues to be built are preferred. The organizers have been looking for ways to reduce costs.

    The federations considered by some to have the best chance at earning a spot in the 2020 Olympics are (men's) baseball and (women's) softball. Baseball-Softball were part of the Olympic program in the past, but were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games and have failed in several bids for reinstatement.

    "Maybe baseball-softball leads the contenders for the shortlist", Dornberger said. "Besides bowling, the other serious contenders include dancesport, karate, roller sports, squash and surfing."

    The remaining applicants will have one month to submit further details, initiating phase two of the selection process. The finalists will make a presentation in Tokyo in early August and the Tokyo OC will make recommendations to the International Olympic Committee by Sept. 30. The IOC will make a final decision in August 2016, when it meets ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

    For more information on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, click here.