TOKYO: Newly elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delighted baseball-mad Japan on Wednesday by saying that his organisation will discuss the sport’s possible reinstatement for the 2020 Tokyo summer Games.
Baseball, passionately followed in Japan as the king of sports, and its sibling softball were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Olympics by the IOC, due to its lack of global appeal among other reasons.
“I’m personally open for more flexibility in the programme of the Olympic Games,” said Bach, who succeeded Jacques Rogge as IOC president in September when Tokyo was chosen over Madrid and Istanbul to host the 2020 summer Games.
‘But I still have to see what my colleagues in the IOC are thinking about this,” he told a news conference.
Bach, a former Olympic and world fencing champion from Germany, said the baseball issue would be discussed by the IOC executive board on December 4, and by the full IOC membership in Sochi in February.
IOC chief hails ‘excellent’ Sochi conditions
Furthermore, Bach said in Thursday that Russia was ready to provide ‘excellent conditions’ for athletes at the Winter Olympics in February.
“We are very pleased with preparations,” said Bach. “The athletes will have excellent conditions in Sochi,” said the German, who visited the Black Sea resort in late October.
Bach cited the quality of the Olympic village and its closeness to competition venues.
“Having stayed in quite a number of Olympic villages, I can say I was really, really impressed,” he said.
Bach added that Sochi’s sports facilities were not only architectural ‘landmarks’ but also ‘very functional for the needs of the athletes and the international federations’.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2013.
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