Olympics-Surfing, skateboarding, climbing part of initial LA28 programme
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) -The sports of skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing that first featured at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been included in the initial sports programme for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday.
Weightlifting, boxing and modern pentathlon were not among the 28 sports, however, and must meet certain criteria in 2023 to be included, IOC President Thomas Bach told an online news conference at the end of an executive board meeting.
Boxing and weightlifting have been struggling with the weight of corruption, governance, finance and judging scandals and have been warned by the IOC to reform or miss out on the Games.
An IOC session in February will approve the initial programme. The three sports which are left out will be up for re-inclusion at the IOC session in 2023.
Skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing made their Olympic debuts in Tokyo this year, with the Games delayed by a year due to COVID-19, and were a major success among young viewers.
"The proposed inclusion of these youth based sports is based on the success of Tokyo 2020, a commitment to innovation and also recognises the deep roots each of these three sports have in Los Angeles and in California," Bach said.
The three sports were already part of the programme for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
For weightlifting and boxing their exclusion from the 2028 Games initial programme is a major blow as the international federations have struggled to meet IOC demanded reforms.
Bach said boxing federation AIBA must change its judging and refereeing system, increase financial transparency and diversify its revenues.
Weightlifting, which has been rocked by revelations of doping cover-ups and decades of corruption that have led to charges against top federation officials, must address a change in culture and major doping issues.
"The IWF and its future leadership must demonstrate its transition towards compliance and effective change in culture," Bach said.
"It must address the historical incidents of doping.. and ensure integrity and robustness of anti-doping."
Modern pentathlon, created by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, must provide plans for an event to replace horse riding.
"The UIPM (modern pentathlon federation) must finalise its proposal for a replacement of horse riding and overall competition format ... they must demonstrate significant reduction in cost ... and appeal to youth and the general public," Bach said.
The UIPM, which will include horse riding at the Paris Olympics, will not have it as a fifth discipline in Los Angeles and will replace it with one that costs less and increases the sport's accessibility.
"The UIPM’s global community is ready to embrace the new opportunity presented by the IOC to futureproof modern pentathlon as an enduring highlight of the Olympic Games," the UIPM said in a statement.
"It is the firm belief of UIPM that all members of its community want the same thing – a stronger pentathlon."
The decision to drop riding came after Germany's modern pentathlon coach Kim Raisner hit a horse at the Tokyo Games when it refused to jump a fence, leading to widespread criticism of the sport.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)
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