Is Africa Ready for Skateboarding in Olympic 2020?

The decision by the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro was the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history. Plans call for staging the skateboarding and sports climbing events in temporary venues installed in urban settings, marking a historic step in bringing the Games to young people and reflecting the trend of urbanisation of sport.

The vote, which took place during the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, the site of this year’s Summer Games, was the culmination of a lengthy campaign to bring skateboarding to the Olympics. The Fédération Internationale Roller Sports (FIRS) was behind skateboarding’s bid, though the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) and International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) have both argued that they should oversee skating in the Games. In a lawsuit filed last month, the WSF alleged that the ISF failed to test skaters for drugs at contests it sanctioned and that it offered favors to an IOC official to block its rival from Olympic negotiations, accusations the IOC called baseless.

In April, the IOC proposed that a commission representing the three groups, as well as the skaters, run the prospective contests. As announced today, though, Olympic skateboarding will operate under the oversight of the Tokyo 2020 Skateboarding Commission, which consists of chairman Gary Ream, president of theISF; Simone Masserini, executive director of the FIRS; and Neal Hendrix, pro skater and ISF athlete representative.

The Olympic contests will include men’s and women’s park and street events, with a total of 80 skaters—40 men and 40 women—competing in them. The IOC expects skating to draw a younger audience to the Games. Before it voted, it screened a video that featured a series of skate clips and renderings of the contests themselves.

IOC President Thomas Bach said, “We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them. Tokyo 2020’s balanced proposal fulfils all of the goals of the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendation that allowed it. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

Skateboarding was one of five sports added to the Olympic program, alongside sport climbing, karate, baseball/softball, and surfing. The 2020 Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.

This raise a question on which way will the Tokyo 2020 Committee run qualifier in the member countries. This commission is chaired with Gary Ream (ISF) whose firm has no any African National Federation registered under it. However for FIRS which has African membered countries yet has ever done any thing concerning skateboarding at a global level despite of submitted and won th skateboarding bid.

FIRS has never hosted any world championship division however they have a skateboarding committe chaired by Mr. Titus Dittmann  with Mr. Ralph Middendorf and Mr. Shiran Habekost.

Another problem asscoiated, is the lack of facilities in many African skateboarding countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and Angola. However countries such as South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia and Egypt have a well established skateboarding base with shops, parks and enough competetive skateboarders.

Africa Skateboarding Diary believes its a right time for African skateboarding countries to start working for Olympic 2020. The governments through ministers concern should now invest into the lives of these young olympians. Skate parks should be built in time to train them at international level.

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