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Softball, Rugby, Golf, Squash Submit Questionnaires To IOC

Four international sports federations – softball, rugby, golf and squash – have submitted their questionnaires to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have their sport added to the Olympic Games program.

The International Softball Federation (ISF) has collated responses to 80 detailed questions, which will highlight the growing popularity of the sport, said an ISF press release, working with 127 national softball federations.

ISF President Don Porter said, “we have sought the advice and collaboration of softball experts and athletes from around the world who have all emphasized to us how popular our great sport has become across the globe. We are confident that our responses to the IOC questionnaire will position our sport favourably as we move into the final run of the bid process. These are crucial times for softball and we are convinced that we adhere closely to the values which reflect the Olympic movement”.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) submission to the questionnaire is divided into nine chapters providing answers to 80 questions relating to rugby’s proposal to the IOC such as history and tradition of rugby, universality and popularity of the sport, fair play and refereeing, athlete welfare, global development of the Game, governance and finance.

IRB President Bernard Lapasset said, “our submission to the Questionnaire comes with the full support of the Rugby Family, many of whom have been involved in providing these answers. The commitment for rugby’s re-inclusion in the Games can be felt from the world’s top men’s and women’s players and the International Rugby Player’s Association all the way through its young passionate travelling support base and global broadcasters and sponsors. We are all very excited and are united in our campaign to secure Rugby Sevens’ inclusion in the Olympic Games starting in 2016”.

He added, “Sevens is already successfully integrated in major international multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, the Pan American Games and the World Games and it has a proven track record of filling stadia – the Commonwealth Games 2006 Sevens tournament was attended by 150,000 over three days, second only to track and field”.

The International Golf Federation (IGF) submitted a 75-page detailed questionnaire Sunday.

The IGF is proposing 72-hole individual stroke play for both men and women. According to a press release, leading players expressed that this is the fairest and best way to identify a champion, mirroring the format used in golf’s major championships. In case of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole playoff is recommended to determine the medal winner(s).

The IGF is recommending an Olympic field of 60 plays for each of the men’s and women’s competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

The World Squash Federation (WSF) also submitted its Questionnaire to the IOC. A press release says the sport is played in 175 countries by more that 20 million people that can be easily integrated into the Olympic Games. It can be located anywhere, requiring just two person courts and is an extremely cost-effective and highly exciting sport.

All of the sport’s top players have signed a pledge to compete at the Olympic Games if selected.

Unlike other sports, squash has never been an Olympic sport though it narrowly missed out in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

Scott Garrett, Squash 2016 bid team manager said, “we are delighted with the case for squash which we have put forward in our questionnaire responses and we are confident that we are able to present strong arguments in all areas”.

A final decision on which sports will be added to the current roster of 26 sports at the 2016 Summer Games will be made at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen this October.

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