Padel Hopeful For Olympic Recognition
The Olympics are the biggest stage for many a sport and the ultimate dream for thousands of athletes. Every four years an individual or team has the honour of competing for the ultimate prize in their sporting discipline, an Olympic gold medal.
There are now 33 sports, up from 28 in 2016, that are contested at the games. The five new sports included for Tokyo 2021 are baseball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing. The decision for adding new sports is up to the organising committee of the next host city to propose the sports it feels should be included, a vote is then carried out to see which of these fits the bill.
Although padel has grown rapidly over the past decade, there are still many countries where it is relatively unknown, South Africa being one of them. One of the key criteria for a sport to be added to the Olympics is that it is practiced in a minimum of 75 countries on 4 continents by men and a minimum of 40 countries on 3 continents by women.
Currently, there are more than 12 million players in 78 Countries, but there are only 40 national federations recognised by the International Padel Federation.
The International Padel Federation has had some key meetings in the past year and seems to be on the right path in getting padel onto the list of potential new sports to be included for the Olympic Games in Paris.