JAKARTA (Reuters) - Wushu will bid again for inclusion in the Olympics and is banking on increased participation in Africa and the Americas to aid their chances after previously missing out to wrestling.
“We have to undertake another bidding process,” International Wushu Federation (IWUF) executive vice president Anthony Goh was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Goh said the Chinese martial art, which features regularly in Asian multi-sports events like the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games, needed to expand its reach.
He said Wushu would feature at the All-African Games in August and at the 2019 Pan American Games, which caters for 41 countries and territories in north, central and south America.
“We need to develop regions where Wushu is less developed. We have to feature more often in multi-international games, like the African Games and the Pan American Games.”
Wushu was among eight sports competing for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics but missed out on the International Olympic Committee’s shortlist of three, with wrestling edging out squash and baseball/softball in September for a place at the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
Wushu could still feature at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, however, after the IOC overhauled a number of rules in a December vote to allow sports an easier avenue into future Olympics.
Tokyo Games organizers can officially request the inclusion of one or more sports with the IOC deciding which makes the cut.
In January, billiards and snooker launched a surprise move to take part in the Tokyo Games. Baseball and softball are the favorites for inclusion, however, given the sport’s popularity in Japan, while karate is also thought to be a front runner.
IOC Vice President John Coates said last month a decision on which sports had been shortlisted would come before the Rio de Janeiro Games next year.
“I can’t tell you whether one, two, three, four, whatever number of events will be recommended,” he said.
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore