Despite a bad break that left his sport off of the shortlist for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Chief of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS) Jason Ferguson said that his sport is ready to pursue a spot at the following Games in 2024.
RTE Sport reported that Ferguson told reporters at the World Championships in Sheffield last weekend “If you go back five years we’d have said, Olympics? No chance. But we have developed our sport and expanded our programme globally and I think we fully deserve our place on the Olympic platform.
“I can confirm that we will be making a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. We made a late bid for Tokyo and we did very well. We learned a lot through that process and we know we have the ability to deliver a fantastic Olympic event.”
The competition to be chosen Olympic host city between Budapest, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome is still underway and won’t be decided until September 2017 yet under new International Olympic Committee rules – host cities are permitted to add additional sports that have a local significance as long as the IOC approves them after a careful vetting process. Some 2024 cities have already suggested new sports along with supporting venues as part of the bid process – Los Angeles says baseball can be played at Dodger Stadium and Skateboarding near Venice Beach even though those sports aren’t yet on the program.
Billiard Sports has yet to be mentioned by any bid city but it couldn’t hurt interested sport federations to start the discussions now.
“The IOC have confirmed they will be using Wroclaw [in Poland, site of the 2017 World Games] as a test event for potential Olympic sports for 2024, and we believe we will deliver a very strong event and off the back of that we will be working very hard on our Olympic bid,” Ferguson said.
“We hear a lot about legacy and cost at the Olympics and the multi-millions that are spent on new arenas and swimming pools. But we can present an Olympic sport on a very tight budget because we can take over any facility and make it look great.
“The bottom line will be does the host of the 2024 Games want snooker in there. If it is one of the 110 countries with a snooker governing body, then we have a chance. I don’t think there’s another sport on this planet that could do it as well as us.”
Billiards Sports also plans to propose its inclusion in the 2024 Paralympic Games where competitions were staged until 1984 before being dropped from the program.
Baseball and softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing and surfing have been recommended by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee for inclusion in it sports program. The IOC will confirm which sports will be added at their all-members session ahead of the Olympic in Rio this summer.
26 of the 35 recognized Olympic sports initially responded to Tokyo 2020’s request for bids for 2020 inclusion before a process whittled the numbers down.
A Tokyo 2020 statement explained “this package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally. They will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal, and will add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.”
A 2024 host city would look for the same in Billiards Sports if it were to recommend its presence on the Olympic program.
The process to selects additional sports for the 2024 Olympic program will likely begin in 2018.