3-on-3 basketball, pictured at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Azerbaijan this year, will be added to the Olympic programme in Tokyo. Photograph: Benjamin Cremel/AFP/Getty Images

Mixed relays in athletics and swimming will make their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with men and women competing with and against each other in 4x400m on the track and 4x100m freestyle in the pool.

The International Olympic Committee is attempting to shrug off its stuffy image and connect with a younger audience by also introducing three-on-three basketball and freestyle BMX.

The new additions announced on Friday follow the pledge to include sport climbing and skateboarding as proposed by the Tokyo organising committee last year.

A mixed team relay was also added in triathlon, along with mixed team events in judo and archery and a mixed doubles competition in table tennis, taking the total number of mixed events at the Games from nine to 18.

While 15 new events were added for the Games there will be a reduction of 285 athletes, including 105 in track and field, from the 11,237 who took part at Rio 2016. Cycling will not gain any competitor spots despite the madison, a discipline in which Great Britain excel, being added to its programme.

The IOC president, Thomas Bach said the Games will be “more youthful, more urban and include more women.” A total of 48.8% of the Tokyo 2020 quotas will be female, a record, compared with 46.1% at Rio 2016.

The Tokyo 2020 president, Yoshiro Mori, welcomed the changes to the programme. “With the new events confirmed today, and with the five new sports and 18 new events that were added last year, I believe that the Olympic Gameshave become much closer to President Bach’s vision, which is for a Games more appealing to young people,” he said, “During the process I showed Tokyo 2020’s determination to minimise costs.”


By Loknath

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