IOC mulls extreme sports; UAE may join fray

IOC mulls extreme sports; UAE may join fray

IOC is weighing the addition of skateboarding and BMX halfpipe and park to the Summer Olympic schedule for Tokyo.



By Moni Mathews

Published: Thu 15 May 2014, 11:04 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:20 PM

For first time ever, extreme sport is official sport at the Asian Olympic Committee and the second Asian Beach Games, and the UAE which has seen many events in the discipline taking place here, may have an 80 per cent chance of taking part in the Asian Beach Games.

Unofficial sources say this will be a big step for the UAE to enter the fray and the Asian meet where extreme sport is showcased prominently.

Officials of the world body governing the sport are confident this would be a big step for the discipline to grow bigger in the Middle East, plus at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which are considering skateboarding and BMX-based events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

For starters, skateboarding could be added for the ‘20 Tokyo Games, officials feel.

This is big step for the sport started as a niche activity defined by rebellious youth performing outrageous stunts, and now extreme sports have firmly entrenched themselves in the threads of world society, a media release stated.

Energised by the additions of slopestyle and freeskiing to the Winter Games programme, IOC is weighing the addition of skateboarding and BMX halfpipe and park to the Summer Olympic schedule for Tokyo.

IOC sports director Christophe Dubi, said: “That is probably the next boost to the sport,” he said.

“Major events, exposure to the global stage is what will help the sport continue to grow.”

The IOC is in the middle of overhauling the way it determines what sports are part of the Olympics.

Former IOC president Jacques Rogge capped the number of summer sports at 28 and number of athletes at 10,500.

However, his successor, Thomas Bach, is in favor of loosening those rules and making it easier to add new sports. BMX racing has been part of the Olympic programme since 2008, but not the halfpipe nor park disciplines of the sport.

Dubi added: “We should not move away from those sports that appear to be more traditional,” he said, “You need probably a blend of urban-extreme sport and at the same time making sure that we have the ground covered with all the (traditional) others.”

Dubi said adding slopestyle and freeskiing had been a huge benefit to the programme in Sochi. The average age of Olympics viewers has been rising during the past decade, and the IOC has looked to attract younger viewers by adding new sports that appeal to them.

moni@khaleejtimes.com


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