The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) announced Friday that it will campaign for cue sports to be added to the program at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Snooker has grown at unprecedented levels in recent times and it has been our belief for some time that we should be given our chance on the ultimate global platform for sport.”
“In 2001 we delivered, with great success, our sport to the International World Games in Akita, Japan, a programme which has continued to this day.
“Today we strongly believe that cue sports has a very powerful case for inclusion in the Olympics in Tokyo. ”
The WPBSA had originally been targeting the 2024 Olympics for inclusion but late last year International Olympic Committee (IOC) reforms added rules to the charter allowing the host city to recommend sports that they wish to be added. The plans would still have to meet IOC criteria and be approved by the membership.
That opens the door for cue sports, but not very wide. While there is no set limit on the number of sports Tokyo 2020 can add, other sports are already in a good position to be included ahead of cue sports. Baseball, a popular sport across Japan, along with softball are widely considered a lock to be added to the program. Other sports that have recently campaigned for inclusion are surfing, karate, squash and skateboarding.
“Snooker alone is watched by nearly half a billion people worldwide and played competitively in over 90 countries,” Ferguson said.
What sport would you like to see competed at the Tokyo 2020 Games?
- Baseball / Softball (42%)
- Squash (17%)
- Cue Sports (Billiards) (12%)
- Karate (11%)
- Surfing (10%)
- Skateboarding (8%)
“With pool and carom alongside us under the WCBS, we have competition in around 200 countries, making us one of the world’s most widely practised sports.”
“The Olympics brings together the most skilled and dedicated athletes on the planet. There are few sports which can match the skill and concentration of snooker; our players are pushed to their limits in mind and dedication.”
“We are educating people through Cue Zone Into Schools and you do not have to look far to see the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement being promoted at the highest level within our sport. ”
While widespread participation and dedication to the Olympic movement are important fundamentals for an Olympic sport, the IOC is also working towards gender balance and equality. Billiards is typically a male dominated sport.
The latest sports added to the program are golf and rugby sevens, both starting with the Rio 2016 Games.
“Olympic participation is part of our global vision and we are committed to seeing our players competing for gold medals on the Olympic stage. Let’s begin in Tokyo in 2020.”
There is no set timetable for determining which, if any, new sports will be on the Tokyo 2020 program but decisions are likely over the next several months.