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Tokyo Olympics: Jury still out but debut sporting events considered lesser-known

Karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding are the new disciplines set to be introduced in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: July 12, 2021 11:14:02 am
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8. (Reuters)

Karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding are the new disciplines set to be introduced in the upcoming Tokyo Games and two – men’s baseball and women’s softball – return to the Olympic fold after 2012 and 2016 editions. Most of these sports are considered by many as the lesser-known disciplines in this edition of Olympics too.

But opinion is completely divided and the jury is still out finalising the list. Indians love cricket first, Europeans love football, it’s ice hockey for Canadians, while people in the U.S. like baseball and American football more than any other sport.

A record 339 events will be held in 33 sporting events in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8. Apart from the debut disciplines, canoe sprint, cycling BMX events, equestrian dressage, modern pentathlon are also quite lesser-known.

Cricket (the second most-watched sport in the world), polo (the poshest sport in the world), darts (yes, it is considered as a sport and IOC officials admitted that darts may make its debut in 2024 Paris Games), squash (one of the most difficult sport with at least at 15 lakh active players across the globe), and bowling (one of the most ancient games played in Egypt and had made a debut in 1988 Seoul Games as demonstration sport while only 20 countries competed) are considered the most lesser sports in the world.

Debutants in 2020 Tokyo Games

Karate: The martial art originated in Japan and will be making its Olympic debut in the Tokyo Games. For men, it is kata (forms), and for women, it is kumite (spar).

Skateboarding: Quite famous in the US and seen as a sport in the street. In Tokyo, the event comprises two – park and street categories – and is for both men and women. The street even will have stairs, ramps and rails while park event held on a bowl-shaped course and riders use the inclines to perform tricks, speed and height.

Sport climbing: The debut sport consists of speed climbing (two athletes race each other to the top of a 15m wall after securing themselves to ropes), bouldering (athletes try to ascend fixed routes on a 4m high wall in 4 minutes), and lead climbing (athletes climb on a 15m wall within 6 minutes, and the fastest athlete wins).

Surfing: Athletes compete at a time, with heats lasting 20 minutes, depending on the waves. The athletes are judged on the difficulty of the manoeuvres they perform on the waves.

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