The International Olympic Committee have been active in recent years in presenting new disciplines in the quadrennial event.
Recently, breakdancing was confirmed to be an official Olympics sport and is set to be brought into the fold from the 2024 Paris Games onward. This decision has attracted different reactions from across the spectrum. Some people have appreciated the organizers for diversifying the competition, whereas others are flustered due to the continued ignorance of other sports.
Several federations have been making a case for their games to be included in the Olympics but to no avail. Their bids are often obstructed due to varying factors, but the associations do not budge from making further attempts. In this article, Khel Now elaborates on five sports that can be introduced in the Olympic Games going forward.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has developed to become one of the most widely followed sports in the world. Prominent fighters have become household names and several contests are keenly followed by the masses. However, the sport has failed to break open the door to the Olympics, despite increasing calls for the same.
Gradually though, MMA seems to be taking the necessary steps to participate in the event sometime in the future. The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) had submitted an application to obtain observer status from the Global Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF) in December 2019. This is considered to be a prerequisite to get the nod from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Interestingly, MMA is believed to have featured in the ancient Olympics in Greece too. It was named ‘pankration’ back then in which boxing and wrestling techniques were applied to force by the athletes, much like MMA. Given the recent developments, the sport could very well be re-introduced in the event in the coming years.
Kabaddi is a sport that has been historically played in different forms in Asian countries and particularly in the south-eastern part of the continent. The International Kabaddi Federation is the global governing body for the sport. India is one of the world’s leading countries in the game, having won seven gold medals in the Asian Games so far.
The popularity of kabaddi, especially skyrocketed in India since the inception of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014. Earlier this year, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had advocated for the sport to be inducted in the Olympics 2024. “Kabaddi is an indigenous sport and the government would make efforts to take it to the Olympics,” Rijiju had responded to a query in the Lok Sabha.
The ministry later clarified that they didn’t have a direct role in the possible inclusion of the sport. However, it had said, “For promotion and development of kabaddi, the ministry is supplementing the efforts of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India by providing support for training, competitive exposure within the country and abroad.”
Multiple attempts have been made to introduce squash at the Olympics. However, the concerned authorities have faced a negative response from the IOC thrice consecutively now. In addition to the Tokyo Games, campaigns were launched for a similar purpose in 2012 and 2016 too. Infact, questions have been raised over whether the sport can take the IOC to court for these regular rejections.
Nevertheless, the World Squash Federation and Professional Squash Association truly believe that the game is fit to meet the standards of the Olympics. “We truly believe squash could seamlessly integrate into the Olympic programme with minimal costs and an optimised pool of participants,” the two organizations had said in a joint statement in February 2019.
Squash is a high-intensity racquet sport played in a four-walled court and has regularly featured in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Very few reasons could possibly justify its exclusion from the Olympics.
Like the other sports mentioned above, the international administrative body for chess is also making the right moves to make it to the Olympics. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) had launched a campaign in February 2019 to introduce chess in the 2024 Paris Games.
It is stated that over 600m people practice chess globally and there are 189 national federations of the sport. This is truly an indication of the worldwide appeal that the game holds. It further paves way for chess’ inclusion in the most prestigious sporting competition in the world.
The chess officials had even made an unsuccessful bid for the sport to be incorporated in the Tokyo Games. The IOC had already recognized chess as a sport in 1999. Moreover, it even featured as an exhibition event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
There is a concern that even a single match of chess tends to last for a long period of time, thus deeming it unsuitable for an event like the Olympics. Addressing those issues, FIDE has called for faster formats of traditional chess known as rapid and blitz to be inducted in the program of the Olympics.
There has been a persistent push for cricket to be integrated in the mega event, especially since the incredible rise of the T20 game. The shortest format of the sport has attracted immense attention from the audience, especially due to its fast-paced nature and the exciting, close contests that it produces.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has previously stated on record that a case could be made for the introduction of the sport at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The move could pay rich dividends, as the International Cricket Committee (ICC) can utilize the opportunity to expand the footprint of the sport. In recent years, countries like India, Australia and England have dominated the sport, both on and off the field. Featuring in the Olympics can help the sport gain new followers from across the world and not just in traditional powerhouses.