Tokyo 2020 Olympics: What are the four new sports at this summer's Games?

There are four new sports making their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while baseball and softball return to the roster after some time away.

For the first time in an Olympiad skateboarding, karate, sport-climbing, and surfing will be among the events in Japan.


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FORMAT: Two karate disciplines will be contested at the Games: kumite and kata. Kumite, which is contested over three weight categories for both men and women, is ostensibly the sparring competition. In Kata, competitors stand alone in the arena and demonstrate a routine of moves picked from the sport’s code, with the winner determined on a points-based system by seven judges. Both events take place over a conventional format of knockout rounds and repechage.

Team GB sport-climber Shauna Coxsey
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STARS: Spain and Japan dominate the top of the world rankings in both men’s and women’s categories. In the latter, Sandra Sanchez will face off against her main rival Kiyou Shimizu in the kata competition. Home hope Ryo Kiyuna starts as favourite in the men’s discipline, but will be challenged by experienced Damian Quintero. No British karatekas managed to qualify for the Games.


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FORMAT: There are two events – park and street. The park discipline takes place in a smooth bowl or bowls, allowing skaters to gain great height and pull off acrobatic moves, while street mimics an urban environment with handrails, curbs and benches. Skaters are scored for the difficulty and originality of their tricks during a strict time limit.

STARS: Sky Brown can expect to steal the show when she becomes Britain’s youngest Olympian at the age of just 13, and she will be backed up by team-mate Bombette Martin. But the host nation also has high hopes in Misugu Okamoto, who is already a World Cup winner at the age of 15. Ayumu Hirano, a two-time Olympic silver medallist in snowboarding, will challenge in the men’s park event.

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Teenaged skateboarder Sky Brown


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FORMAT: Climbing’s debut at the Olympics will require athletes to compete over three categories – lead climbing (climbing with a rope and harness), bouldering (unroped scaling of a shorter wall) and speed-climbing (a head-to-head race over knockout rounds) – with the men’s and women’s medals determined by their respective cumulative totals.

STARS: Shauna Coxsey, a two-time World Cup winner in bouldering and also a double World Championship bronze medallist, is Britain’s only competitor and a genuine medal chance. Six-time world champion Janja Garnbret of Slovenia will start as favourite, while in the men’s event, multiple world champion Adam Ondra of the Czech Republic is the undoubted star.

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FORMAT: Men’s and women’s surfing events will take place at Shidashita Beach. Additional days have been built into the Olympic schedule in case of unsuitable weather. Athletes will surf in groups of four, with the top two scorers, based on the quality of their manoeuvres, advancing to the next stage. Surfers will be penalised for failing to follow usual surfing etiquette.

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STARS: No British surfers qualified for the Games. Brazil are expected to dominate the men’s event through the brilliant multiple world champion Gabriel Medina and team-mate Italo Ferreira. American Carissa Moore is the superstar of the women’s event but a host of Japanese stars will hope to benefit from knowledge of the local conditions.



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