Olympics: One sport set to be cast into Olympic limbo

One sports federation will not be happy on Tuesday as the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee is set to vote in Lausanne to have a sport removed from the 2020 Summer Games.

The Executive Board will then vote at a later date on what sport should replace it at those Games with squash - which lost out to golf and rugby sevens for the 2016 edition - and karate among the frontrunners to do so.

Such decisions do not sit easily with some of the IOC members outside the EB who believe that such matters should be debated and decided upon by all of them.

They will, however, have the chance to vote their approval or not of the sport being voted off the 28 sports roster and its replacement at the IOC Congress in Buenos Aires in early September.

"I don't think it is a very good idea to have such a vote in Buenos Aires," an IOC member not on the EB told AFP.

"There is enough to be decided on there in the shape of the host city of the 2020 Games and the successor to Jacques Rogge as president.

"It is many members feelings that the sport should have been decided upon next year."

Those sports thought to be most at risk are badminton, taekwondo and modern pentathlon.

Badminton's image took a massive blow at last year's Olympics with the scandal that saw eight women's doubles players from South Korea, Indonesia and China disqualified for trying to lose matches.

The Badminton World Federation subsequently took steps to avoid a repeat.

The BWF said that in the future, following the group stage, all pairs finishing second in their groups would be placed into a second draw to determine who they face in the knockout phase.

But pairs topping their group stage would have fixed positions equivalent to seeded placings in the knockout stage.

"These should ensure such a regrettable spectacle is never witnessed in badminton again," the BWF said back in November.

Badminton also has the heavyweight support of IOC vice-president Craig Reedie and its removal would upset the Chinese.

Taekwondo has been in a precarious position for a while, although it was seen to have had a successful London Games, not least because of the gold medal won by exuberant 19-year-old Welsh star Jade Jones.

Jones's win also helped to shed the sport's image of being solely the preserve of Asian athletes - it has seen some fierce lobbying by the Koreans to preserve its status - as she told AFP last October.

"I never stop hearing about taekwondo now," she said of the sport that first entered the Olympics in 2000.

"Everyone knows about it. Before I used to be asked 'what is it?' The two medals we won at the Games have really raised awareness of the sport in the country.

"I know a lot of people have started taking up the sport and it is attracting a wider range of people which can only be good for competition."

Modern pentathlon would seem to be the most at risk.

"It is very expensive to put on and is slightly anachronistic, and doesn't look terrific on television," one IOC critic of it told AFP.

However, it gained widespread praise for its showing at the London Games and with Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior - long-time vice-president of the sport's governing body - sitting on the EB they will at least have a powerful voice arguing in their favour.

pi/cw

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard 6 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard

    Here are the top trending stories of the day in case you missed them:

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 11 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 14 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying
    Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying

    The supermodel said that she will take her daughter in a vacation but will try to avoid boarding a plane

  • One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks
    One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks

    South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. "The ferry is almost completely submerged," Lee said, adding that a detachment of South Korean Navy SEALS were taking part in the rescue. Of the 450 passengers on board the ferry bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, 325 were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul. The 6,825-tonne ferry, which had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, ran into trouble some 20 kilometres (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong.