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Olympics

Cricket, squash officially included in Olympics for LA28

Cricket is among the five new sports approved by the IOC Executive Board during its 141st Congress in Mumbai at the Jio World Convention Centre on Monday.

Cricket, squash officially included in Olympics for LA28
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FILE PHOTO: Indian women's cricket team celebrates after Titas Sadhu takes a wicket against Sri Lanka in the final of the Asian Games.

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 16 Oct 2023 10:58 AM GMT

The 141st Congress of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Board has officially approved the inclusion of five new sports - Baseball/softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse, and squash - on the Olympic program for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

It marked cricket's return to the Olympic program after 123 years. The sport was first played at the quadrennial showpiece in 1900 at the Paris Olympics. Cricket is one of the five sports, including squash, approved by the IOC Executive Board during the Congress in Mumbai at the Jio World Convention Centre on Monday.

The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics Organising Committee sent the proposals to the IOC for the inclusion of five 'new' sports on October 10, Tuesday.

Each host city of the Olympic Games has the opportunity to request the IOC to include new sports in their edition of the Games.

"IOC Session approves LA28's proposal for five additional sports: Baseball/softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse, and squash have been officially included as additional sports on the program for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028," the Olympic Games wrote on X.

"These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC Executive Board taking into consideration these proposals and these sports are fully in line with the American sports culture. They will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing in at the same time international sports to the United States," IOC President Thomas Bach said earlier.

Squash, which has never been part of the Olympic Games, is a surprise inclusion since the IOC and the Olympic organising country always maintained that hosting squash is expensive. Lacrosse, which last appeared in the Games in 1908, is also a surprise inclusion in the Olympic programme.

Like cricket, squash has been included in the Olympics after a hard lobbying by the World Squash Federation since 2013.

India's existing Olympic broadcast rights are reportedly worth $20 million for the 2024 Paris Olympics. But, the value of the rights could go up to $160 million if cricket is included in the Games.

The last time cricket was played at the 1900 Olympics, England defeated France in a one-off match. At LA 28, the cricket matches will be played in the T20 format.

It is highly likely that cricket will retain its place in the Olympics for the 2032 Brisbane Games as well in Australia, a powerhouse in cricket.

Baseball, which will not be part of the Paris Olympics, will be back in Los Angeles after the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Softball, the female counterpart to baseball, made five appearances at the Olympics but will not be part of the Paris Olympics. It will be back in the Games in 2028.

Lacrosse also appeared in the Olympics twice, in 1904 and 1908.

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