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Seven Sports Presentations “Interesting”, “Informative” - IOC

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All seven sports vying for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games presented their plans to the International Olympic Committee Monday.

The sports are baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, softball and squash.

Considered the best female player of all time, Annika Sorenstam, and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, told the 15-member IOC Executive Board that an Olympic gold medal would be as important as winning a major.

Sorenstam said, "I can't think of a tougher championship. You only get a chance to win once every four years, rather than four times a year".

The presentation team showed a video with top players past and present, including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, pledging their support for golf's bid.

The World Squash Federation (WSF) team explained its sport would play in mobile glass courts it would donate to the host city, and has secured pledges from top-ranked men and women players that an Olympic medal would be the sport's highest honour. Squash also stressed its universality and youth appeal.

HRH Prince Imran of Malaysia, IOC Member and Squash Patron, introduced the team and the executive board was then shown a video highlighting a number of the key areas that makes it easier and more enjoyable to watch the sport on television, the pledge that the top athletes would compete, the range of nationalities that would be represented, and the low cost and accessibility of the sport around the world.

World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran explained how the WSF team has improved the infrastructure of the game and the way in which the professional organizations work to ensure that squash is totally ready to be easily incorporated into the Olympic Games, as well as the ease and low cost of squash and how the sport can easily be hosted in any of the four 2016 bid cities.

World Karate Federation president Antonio Espinos said his federation had worked hard since Singapore to improve its appeal. He said after his presentation, "we had good feelings from the reactions of the IOC members. I think we have succeeded in showing them the full picture of our sport".

Karate officials said their sport, with around 100 million registered athletes worldwide, would be a non-contact version that would award points for specific moves.

Rugby officials are offering the Sevens competition, which is faster and shorter than the traditional 15-man game. Former Argentina captain Agustin Pichot said, "the Olympics will life the whole concept for the players. Players will want to compete for Olympic gold. They will want to be chosen". The bid team tried to persuade the IOC executive that the shortened form of the sport connects well with young people and families.

International Rugby Board secretary-general Mike Miller said, "when people come to the events they are sold. They see the passion, they see the excitement, they see how well it works".

Rollersports officials said they had offered an exciting concept with several competitions of in-line skating. Federation general secretary Roberto Marotta said, "if they want to get young people with a new, dynamic sport, they can follow our proposal. We don't need any facilities. We can do it in a car park or a road".

IOC President Jacques Rogge said after the presentations, "all seven sports made interesting and informative presentations. All have something to offer. In the end the decision will come down to which are the best fit for the Olympic program".

Franco Carraro, Chairman of the Olympic Programme Commission said, "the fact that so many sports want to be on the Olympic program reflects the global appeal of the Games. It is important to have a well-defined, transparent evaluation process that is fair to all".

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Olympic Sports Bids Summary
Bid Status: Wrestling has been included in 2020 Olympics
Bid Date: September 2013
Bid Location: Beunos Aires, Argentina
Description: Wrestling has been included in 2020 Olympics
Bid Book: Link To Bid Book
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