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New Events for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

With the biggest sporting event of 2020 starting in July, Japan is looking to spice it up with the addition of four new Olympic Games events and one returning event on the menu. Baseball/Softball (returning), Karate, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing, and Surfing will all make their debut this year, so allow us to ‘whet your appetite’ with a flavour of what you can expect from their inclusion in Tokyo.

 

Baseball/softball

New Olympic Games event: Baseball for men and softball for women.

Number of events: One each.

Total number of athletes competing: 144.

One of the main reasons this sport has been ushered into the Olympic Games in Tokyo is the huge popularity of baseball in Japan. The game involves competing teams of nine players, who take turns playing in defence and offence on a pitch with 4 bases. The team playing offence will bat, while the defending team fields and pitches. There are nine innings in a standard game, during which each team tries to clock up more ‘runs’ than their opponents, a run is a complete circuit of all four bases. You can only start running if the ball is hit in front of the foul lines which sit at 45-degree angles.

The women’s version of the game, softball, has a few key differences. Pitchers throw the ball underhand instead of overhand, the parameters of the field are smaller, and the ball used is larger. 

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Karate

New Olympic Games event: Three different weight classes of Kumite for both men and women, as well as Kata for men and women.

Number of Event: There will be 6 Kumite events and 2 Kata events. 

Total number of athletes competing: 20 will take part in Kata and 60 will take part in Kumite. 

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that it has taken karate so long to be introduced into the Olympic Games. After all, the likes of wrestling, boxing, and judo have been in the Games for decades now. Karate is a form of mixed martial arts, and two disciplines of it will feature: Kata, which is the form discipline, and Kumite, which is the sparring discipline.

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Skateboarding

New Olympic Games event: Street skateboarding for men and women, as well as park boarding for men and women.

Number of events: There will be two events per each discipline. 

Total number of athletes competing: 40 for street skateboarding and 40 for park boarding. 

It is arguable that the inclusion of skateboarding is an attempt to appeal to the younger generation, and to this end two disciplines have been included. Street skating takes place along a course of obstacles that simulates an urban environment. This could include anything from boxes to handrails. Park skating takes place on a series of ramps, ranging from quarter pipes to bowls. A team of judges will award points based on the grabs/grinds/jumps the athletes are able to perform while skating, as well as the height of the jumps, and the speed. 

 

Sport Climbing

New Olympic Games event: Bouldering, lead and speed combined, for both men and women.

Number of events: Two.

Total number of athletes competing: 40. 

Sport climbing is a competitive form of rock climbing. Three formats will be showcased at the Olympics. Firstly, speed climbing, which sees athletes go head-to-head to scale a 15m wall in the fastest time. Lead climbing has the same objective, but with a designated climbing route. Bouldering is a more technical discipline, which involves climbing short sections of walls or rocks without any ropes. The winner is the athlete who completes the course in the lowest number of attempts. 

 

Surfing

New Olympic Games event: Shortboard for both men and women. 

Number of events: Two. 

Total number of athletes competing: 40. 

The inaugural Olympic surfing competition will take place at the Shidashita beach, which is located around 40km outside of Tokyo. As the contest will rely on suitable weather conditions and waves, there will be a waiting period to ensure the best conditions. Judges will score the surfer based on their moves, graded in terms of flow, power, speed, difficulty level, and variety.  

 

There it is: an insight into the five new sports that have been added to the Olympics 2020. The real excitement will be to see how these events play out, which countries prove to be dominant, and whether they can capture the attention of spectators. Which sports are you most keen to see in Tokyo this year?

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© Photo by Photo Kishimoto (Softball, baseball, karate) & Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 (Sports Climbing)