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Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 14:48 UK

Seven sports aim for Olympic spot

Olympic flag
Seven sports will bid to fly their flags at the 2016 Olympics

Baseball and softball launched their bids to return to the Olympics on Monday as seven sports federations attempt to make the 2016 Games.

Roller sports, golf, rugby sevens, karate and squash are also aiming for the two spots that are up for grabs.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said: "We are looking for an added value - wide appeal, especially for young people."

The four cities bidding to host the Games will also make their presentations in Switzerland this week.

Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo will put their case straight to IOC members on Wednesday and Thursday in the first ever forum for rival cities to stake their claim.

606: DEBATE

First up this week in Lausanne though, the seven sports federations which got 45 minutes to make their case for 2016, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Retired Swedish great Annika Sorenstam, winner of 10 majors, and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie pushed golf's case.

Montgomerie said: "There is nothing to stop me competing in the Olympic Games at 53.

"If I'm in the top six in the world I'll be there wherever the city may be and I think I speak for the top 60 men."

Baseball and softball were voted off the 2012 London Games in 2005, while the five others failed to get enough votes in 2005 for Olympic inclusion.

Baseball officials assured the IOC a "selection of the best players" would be made available for the Olympics despite aclash with the Major League Baseball season.

No MLB games would be scheduled on the days of the medal matches.

"We do not want to compete against any Olympic broadcast," said international federation chief Harvey Schiller.

The need for a new women's Olympic team sport has been stressed by some IOC members after softball was kicked out of the Games and the International Rugby Board's proposal includes a men's and women's rugby sevens tournament.

ROGER MOSEY'S BLOG

IRB general secretary Mike Miller said: "The recent Rugby World Cup had both a men's and women's tournament that was integrated.

"The good thing about rugby sevens is that there has been an explosion in the women's game in the last four or five years and 84 countries took part in the qualification tournament."

The IOC program commission has been evaluating the seven sports, attending their major events and assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

"It's a very open race," Rogge said. "There are supporters of all seven sports both inside and outside the executive board. I can say any of the seven would be good in the Olympic programme."

Rogge said the IOC is looking beyond the individual merits of each sport.

"We are looking for an added value - wide appeal, especially for young people, universality, whether infrastructure is costly or not," he said.

"And, first and foremost, there must be a big fight against doping. This is a very important aspect. We also are looking to see if the sport or two sports fit well into the puzzle of the Olympic programme."

The 15-member board will meet in Berlin on 13 and 14 August to choose the two sports to submit for ratification by the full membership in Copenhagen.

Later this week, the 2016 bid cities will also have 45 minutes to make their case, followed by a 45 minute question and answer session. The following day, the members can visit the bid teams in their hotel suites.

Rogge said at least 94 out of 107 members will be attending the meeting.

"For the members, it's the opportunity to get a presentation without the frills," Rogge said. "There will be no heads of states, no flashy videos, no presentation of fancy athletes. We can enter into more detailed questions."

IOC delegates have been barred from visiting candidate cities since the Salt Lake City scandal, so this week's programme was arranged to give the bid teams direct contact with the members.

The sessions set the stage for the final months of what looks set to be a tight race.

"I think it's going to be a very close call, a little bit like Singapore," Rogge said, referring to the 2005 vote in which London edged Paris in the final round.



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see also
August D-Day for Olympic hopefuls
25 Mar 09 |  Olympics
Rogge voices Olympic rugby doubts
30 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Squash 'deserves Olympic place'
23 Mar 07 |  Squash
Olympic sports fail in appeal bid
09 Feb 06 |  Olympics 2012
Olympic application made for golf
22 Jun 09 |  Golf
Team GB target Beijing berth
04 Dec 07 |  Baseball
USA's winning run
09 Jun 04 |  History
New sports hoping for Olympic nod
08 Jul 05 |  Sport Homepage
What the Papers say - Buying the Games
04 Aug 04 |  Panorama


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