Olympics add 3-on-3 basketball and mixed-gender relay races

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While the number of sports for Tokyo was set at 33 past year, many global federations want to tweak their schedules with new events.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s Executive Board on Friday announced its decision to include 64 athletes (32 men and 32 women) for 3×3 as part of the Olympic Basketball program starting with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Appealing to a more "urban" audience was another priority, he told reporters, announcing that both male and female 3-on-3 basketball and BMX freestyle had been added to the lineup.

In 2012, England sent teams to compete in the 3×3 World Championships in Athens, meanwhile, Great Britain won a bronze medal at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival and England finished fourth in an Under-15 World Tournament in 2015; showing the potential opportunity the sport provides to non-traditional basketball countries.

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Four new International Federations (IFs) - Canoe, Rowing, Shooting and Weightlifting - will move to gender-balanced in events for the first time.

But the total number of athletes competing in cycling events is expected to remain unchanged.

Commenting on the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said "The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 program previous year, represent a step-change in the Olympic program".

Those mixed gender events will be introduced in athletics, swimming, table tennis and triathon including the introduction of a mixed relay in the 4x400 metres athletics, mixed team relay in triathlon and the 4x100 metres mixed medley in swimming. The changes are meant to boost women's participation in the Games and add more youth-focused events, all while lowering the total number of athletes.

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The world athletics body (IAAF) described the mixed relay as a "delightfully chaotic" event.

But modern pentathlon's global federation, the UIPM, has expressed its "unhappiness" that a request to add a mixed relay has been rejected. Games should be quick too with a game being decided by the first team to reach 21.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said athletics, "the number one sport at the Olympics", wanted to work with the International Olympic Committee to "drive effective and meaningful change", so it would look at ways to reduce the quota and bring in the mixed relay.

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