Climbing Moves Step Closer to 2020 Olympics

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September 28, 2015 - The Tokyo organizing committee has recommended that climbing be included in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Climbing joins skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball, and karate among the sports organizers hope to add to the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

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The recommendation narrows the field from eight sports being considered. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make a final decision next August.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) already tried once to make the roster for the 2020 Games, but in 2013 the IOC announced climbing hadn't made the cut. However, a new program allows the host country to propose sports with broad local and international appeal.

An estimated 500,000 climbers live in Japan, and in recent years the country has consistently had top finishers in international competitions, including the world's top-ranked female boulderer, Akiyo Noguchi. Four Japanese men and three women are currently in the top 20 in the world lead climbing rankings. In a statement, Yagihara Kunio, president of the Japanese Mountaineering Association, said, "All the JMA members are deeply committed to work even harder [now] to make it happen and give our athletes the possibilities to win medals in 2020."

According to the IFSC proposal, 60 climbers would compete in the Olympics in three disciplines: sport, bouldering, and speed. The events would take place over four days, and the medalists would be chosen based on the combined results of all three disciplines.

The proposal also outlines how the IFSC would choose the 30 male and 30 female competitors in the Olympics: "The top three male and female athletes at the World Championships, the top three male and female athletes at each of the five Continental Championships, the top three male and female athletes at the World Youth Championships, and the top nine men and nine women in the world ranking of the year. In order to give the largest number of countries the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games, a quota for each country may be set."