Olympic Games

Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Sambo to receive provisional recognition by the IOC for Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee is set to announce provisional of six new sports for the Olympic Charter for approval in upcoming Olympic Games. Those sports include cheerleading, lacrosse, American football, and more importantly, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Sambo. The three combat sports were announced to be on the docket to be reviewed by the IOC and could be up for full recognition by the next Olympic cycle in 2024.

World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) and International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) and International SAMBO Federation (FIAS) have been recommended for review. The next step for all six sports will be to receive full recognition by the IOC board which officially meets on July 20-21 in Tokyo, Japan just before the commencement of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. All three of the combat sports were recommended for recognition in 2018 with the International Federations getting everything in order just before these Olympic Games.

For the sports to receive full recognition by the IOC and included in the Olympic Games, they must meet several requirements. First the Federations must have statutes and activities are in accordance with the Olympic Charter, meaning possessing the Olympic spirit, which is basically international competition, have a WADA program approved and implemented, and have proof of anti-corruption in sport.

For ratification, 50 International Federations must be affiliated for summer games and 25 for winter games. Kickboxing and Muay Thai are worldwide and shouldn’t have a problem with that. Sambo is a bit more niche but still has a shot.

Kickboxing, Combat Sports, and the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games have a deep history with combat sports. Already having events for boxing, wrestling, taekwondo and judo, a fifth sport, karate, was added for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. With combat sports growing worldwide, specifically mixed martial arts, the Olympic is branching out into countries to build their audience there. Adding kickboxing, sambo, and Muay Thai would add three key regions to the IOC’s reach.

While approval for provisional recognition isn’t a guarantee that a sport is going to be accepted by the IOC and added to the register of games, it is a step forward in the right direction.


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