Shauna Coxsey in action at the Innsbruck event. Photo: Eddie Fowke/IFSC

Shauna Coxsey in action at the Innsbruck event. Photo: Eddie Fowke/IFSC

Climbing has made a further move towards inclusion in the Olympic Games after receiving support from the movement’s executive board.

International Olympic Committee bosses backed the proposal to add five new activities, including sport climbing, to the programme for the 2020 Tokyo games.

The final decision on inclusion will be made by the 129th IOC session which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.

If successful, 20 women and 20 men will take place in the climbing competition.

Marco Maria Scolaris, president of the International Federation of Sport Climbing, said: “We are very pleased to reach a new step and are looking forward to the final hold of our unbelievable climb.”

Sport climbing, which involves the use of pre-placed bolts on routes, is one of five new sports proposed for the games in Japan. Others are: baseball and softball; karate; skateboarding and surfing.

The IOC said, if approved, the changes would represent the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history.

It is part of moves to encourage innovation in the Olympic programme. It said: “The package promotes gender equality while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community.

“It also offers a key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games vision for Tokyo 2020.”

British Mountaineering Council chief executive Dave Turnbull

British Mountaineering Council chief executive Dave Turnbull

Dave Turnbull, chief executive of the British Mountaineering Council, said: “This is great news for competition climbing and the profile of the sport as a whole.

“The BMC is fully behind the goal of climbing becoming an Olympic sport. Hopefully, inclusion in Tokyo 2020 will open the door to new commercial opportunities to help give our competitors the best possible chance of future success.”

British climber Shauna Coxsey is strongly placed after gaining four golds in this year’s IFSC bouldering world cup.

The Runcorn-based athlete topped the rankings in the latest round held at Innsbruck last month. She will fly to Vail in Colorado for the next competition later this month.

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