Move to make billiards part of 2020 Olympic Games

Beijing, Jan 30 (IANS) There is a strong move to have billiards included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The World Confederation of Billiards Sport (WCBS) and the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have jointly submitted a bid to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, the heads of the two organisations said during the Chinese Billiard World Championship held this week in Yushan, Jiangxi province, Xinhua reported Friday.
“The next week we’ll know if Japan supports us,” said WCBS general secretary Maxime Cassis.
“And (if so) the cue sport will be one of the four sports under selection for the Olympic Games.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) passed a resolution in December that it now allows the Olympic hosts to request the addition of one or more new sports.
“We made the bid for the first time ever last week and this is a very big news for the sport,” said WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson.
“I see the sport being a major Olympic sport one day. Snooker alone is growing massively over the past five years. We’ve taken our sport from six events to 28 events worldwide,” he added.
Wang Tao, general secretary of the Chinese Billiards Association, applauded the move saying that “it will boost the whole sport whether successful or not.”
The report to JOC, illustrating why billiards should be part of the programme for 2020, is based on all cue sports such as snooker and pool that are now very popular in China with stars like Ding Junhui and woman player Pan Xiaoting.
Baseball and softball, which were dropped after the 2008 Beijing Games, are considered favourites for inclusion in Tokyo. Squash, karate and a couple of other sports are also lobbying for a spot.
But Cassis believed that cue sport has a chance to be accepted and hoped that the 2020 hosts would support their candidacy.
“Today the cue sport is so big all over the world, especially snooker, with fantastic TV coverage. Pool is played in over 200 countries in the world,” he said.
Billiards was part of the programme in the 2001 World Games in Akita, Japan.