December 10, 2008

Olympics

London mayor backs cricket for 2012 Olympics

Nishi Narayanan

Boris Johnson, the left-field London mayor, has backed cricket’s inclusion in the 2012 Olympics that will be hosted by the city ... even though it’s an impossible campaign. "It is high time we install in the Olympics Twenty20 cricket," Johnson said at a business lunch in London.

Last month the London Assembly passed a unanimous motion to lobby international cricket authorities and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include the sport. “Let’s face it, if they want to draw in south Asian audiences to watch the Olympics, they have to have cricket,” Murad Qureshi, the London Assembly member who moved the motion, said. “India is one of the biggest markets out there, we have to make it relevant to people.”

Previous host nations had been able to introduce a national sport as a “demonstration” event in the Games, but the IOC changed the rule for Beijing 2008, allowing China to showcase a traditional discipline as part of a “cultural Olympiad”. Cricket, which last made a five-ringed appearance in 1900 in Paris, cannot be an official sport until at least 2020, with the finalisation of events for those Games occurring in 2013.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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Keywords: Olympics

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