Indian prospects for new Olympic sports

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will see five sports being added to the schedule: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.

While not all these new sports are expected to have an Indian presence at the Olympics next year, karate and sport climbing could be avenues for athletes from India to make it big on the global stage. Let’s take a look at those prospects:

Karate: What are Kata and Kumite?

A sport that conjures up images of dedication and concentration, Karate will be one of the new additions to the Olympic roster with medals being up for grabs in the two forms of Kata and Kumite at Tokyo 2020.

Kata isn’t a combat sport where two participants are made to fight each other like in wrestling or boxing, but instead, participants are judged on their power and correctness of their techniques by a panel of seven judges.

Kumite, on the other hand, is a combat sport where fights last for up to three minutes where the participant with the greater number of points is judged as the winner. However, if at any point during a Kumite fight, a participant manages to get an eight-point lead over his opponent, he/she is instantly declared as the winner.

The India angle

At the Tokyo Olympics, there will by 80 participants from all across the globe who will take part in the Kumite and Kata disciplines cumulatively, with eight golds to compete for.

India has historically fared well in Karate, especially at the 2015 Commonwealth Karate Championships which were held in New Delhi. India’s top female karate participants like Nidhi Nanhet, Sandhya Shetty and Supriya Jatav all won gold medals in their respective weight categories for Kumite.

In the men’s Kumite category at the same event, India also performed brilliantly, with Durgesh Chauhan and Anmol Singh victorious in their respective weight categories. With all these athletes in the fray, India could have a substantial presence at the Games.

Sport Climbing: What are Lead, Speed and Bouldering?

Sport Climbing is another new addition to the 2020 Olympic Games, with the sport being divided in three categories - lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering.

The winner at the Olympics will be chosen based on the cumulative scores of the athletes after they have completed all three disciplines. A total of 40 competitors will be heading to participate at this new sport of the Olympics, with two gold medals up for grabs - one for the men and the other for the women.

Speed cllimbing sees two competitors go head to head attempting to scale a 15-metre wall as fast as possible. First to the top wins - so the action explodes in a quickfire burst, lasting only a few seconds.

In bouldering, climbers tackle fixed routes on a 4-metre high wall. Each competitor has four minutes in which to complete the course. When a climber grabs the final hold at the top of a route, they have completed it.

Lead climbing sees athletes attempting to reach as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15-metres high within six minutes. For this, climbers have to use safety ropes and if you fall, you cannot make another attempt to climb.

Indian hopes

Ever since India hosted a Sport Climbing World Cup in Mumbai in 2016, the popularity of the sport has grown positively.

The trio of Bharath Pereira, Gaurav Kumar, and Maibam Chingkeinganba will be competing in the IFSC World Championships in Japan which are scheduled to begin in August.

The top seven participants at this tournament in the men’s and women’s categories will qualify directly for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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