Cricket Will Be Part Of LA Olympics
MUMBAI (IANS) – Twenty20 cricket for men and women will be part of the Olympic Games in 2028 in Los Angeles once the 141st Session of the International Olympic Committee gives its final approval to a proposal put forth by the American organizers of the Games.
The proposal to include cricket (T20) along with baseball softball, squash, lacrosse (sixes) and flag football, a limited contact version of American Football, as additional sports for the Los Angeles Olympic Games cleared a major hurdle on October 13 when the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent the proposal for voting by the IOC session.
The IOC EB has accepted as a package the proposal by Los Angeles to include squash, baseball/softball, flag football and lacrosse.
If approved, cricket will return to the Olympics for the first time since 1900 when it was part of the program in Paris.
According to recent trends in the IOC, getting the approval seems a formality as the IOC Session has approved similar packages for the Tokyo and Paris Games.
As per the initial proposal, approval has been given for a six-team competition per gender but according to Kit McConnell, Sports Director, IOC, the number of teams and qualification program will be finalized by early 2025.
The IOC also made it clear that this proposal was only restricted to Los Angeles and is not for Games in the future like the 2032 Olympics scheduled to be held in Brisbane, Australia, where cricket is quite popular.
The IOC President Thomas Bach said that the five sports sit perfectly well with the sports culture of the United States and therefore have been accepted by the IOC EB for inclusion.
“Cricket has more than 2.5 billion fans worldwide and represents an invaluable opportunity to engage with new countries and communities, including the growing Indian community in the US. Cricket brings a vast social media following, the men’s 2024 Cricket T20 World Cup will be hosted in the USA, and a new major professional league, Major League Cricket, was recently launched in the USA. T20 – with a men’s and a women’s tournament – is the format that would be played at LA28,” the IOC said in a statement.
Bach also said the United States has a growing Indian community and the inclusion of cricket sits well with the Indian community in the United States and noted that a very successful tournament was organized in Dallas a few months back. He also noted that cricket, especially the T20 version popularity is growing not only in India but all over the world and therefore is looking forward to having the best cricket players from all over the world participating in the Olympic Games.
“Having cricket in the Olympic Games is a very attractive prospect for Los Angeles and the Olympic movement,” Bach said.