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Baseball, skateboarding, surfing a part of future Olympics

Five sports, including baseball, skateboarding and surfing, are on track to feature at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the IOC on Wednesday recommended their inclusion to attract a younger audience, said a source close to the discussions.

The International Olympic Committee now needs to rubber stamp the inclusion of skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing and karate plus the joint baseball/softball bid at its session in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The source told Reuters the IOC had decided to recommend all five of the sports that had made the Tokyo shortlist during a meeting of its executive board in Lausanne.

Under new rules, Olympic host cities can hand-pick sports they want in the Games, joining the existing 28 core sports.

As part of sweeping reforms initiated by IOC president Thomas Bach in December 2014, future Olympic hosts are being offered the chance to bring in sports that are trendy in their countries to boost ratings and attract greater sponsorship.

Games organisers also wanted sports that are already well established in Japan so new venues would not need to be built and add to ballooning costs while also shoring up local support for the Olympics.

The decision to include additional sports in the Olympics is only for one edition of the Games and they would need to bid again for inclusion at the next Olympics.

Baseball and softball last featured at the Games in Beijing in 2008 before being taken off the programme.

Surfing is expected to take place in the sea, instead of on artificial waves, while a row between rival skateboard bodies was ironed out so the sport could be recommended for inclusion.

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