July 29, 2016

TOKYO (AP) Five sports, including surfing and skateboarding, moved a step closer to being included in the Tokyo 2020 Games after being described as ''a dynamic and exciting'' package by the IOC.

Skateboarding, surfing, karate, sports climbing and baseball/softball were all recommended for inclusion by the IOC. An Olympic program commission report released on Friday said the five are a blend of the traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, and all have international and local appeal.

The IOC will make the final decision on the five sports in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 3, two days before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games.

In assessing the case for inclusion, the commission considered gender equality, youth appeal and their legacy value.

The inclusion of the new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes, with equal numbers of women and men for all sports except baseball/softball, because softball teams have 15 players, whilst baseball teams have 24.

The report said the new sports in Tokyo would not threaten the inclusion of existing Olympic sports or be binding on future host cities.

Baseball and softball, which are making a combined bid to return, were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games. Their hopes for inclusion are boosted by their popularity in Japan.

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