Baseball and softball move closer to Olympics, but football gets cut

Baseball/softball, bowling, roller sports, climbing, squash, surfing, karate, wushu make short list for 2020

Baseball and softball have taken another step toward rejoining the Olympics, earning their way onto a short list of sports that will be considered for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Organizers in Japan announced Monday that eight of 26 applicants made the initial cut.

Other candidates moving ahead: bowling, roller sports, climbing, squash, surfing, karate and another marital arts sport called wushu.

Football, polo and tug of war were among the sports that did not advance.

Baseball and softball — which were dropped after 2008 and are now considered one entry because of their unified international federation — look like favorites if only because of their popularity in Japan.

"This is a great day for our sport," said Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation. "Today, baseball and softball — and the millions of athletes and fans who call it their sport — reached first base."

Under the recent Agenda 2020 reform package, the International Olympic Committee will allow host cities to recommend the addition of sports before each Games.

This summer, Tokyo organizers will review further materials and interview the applicants before submitting a final recommendation in September. IOC members will vote on the matter in August 2016.

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