Cricket Ready to Rejoin the Olympic Ranks -- Federations Focus

(ATR) ICC wants back into Olympics; AIBA announces qualifying tournaments; Brazil joins Russia at World Cup 

(ATR) The International Cricket Council (ICC) is ready for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

The question now is whether the IOC is ready to welcome cricket back for the first time since the 1900 Games in Paris.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson, speaking with reporters in London, says a majority of members of the sport’s governing body believe the time is right for an Olympic bid.

Richard Peterkin, IOC member from St. Lucia, tells Around the Rings he heartily supports cricket in the Olympics and thinks it can be done.

He believes the shortest form of the game, Twenty20, "in particular would be a good addition to the Sports Program for the Summer Olympics, and changes under Agenda 2020 could easily accommodate this, not necessarily as a permanent or core sport, but one that could be included if requested by a bidding city."

"Certainly, a city in Australia, India, New Zealand or South Africa would be happy to make such a request. Now that the ICC is on board, this clears most of the hurdles."

Cricket is a popular sport in Britain and many of its former colonies but its reach is limited elsewhere.

Peterkin tells ATR that cricket will likely not make it into the 2024 Games. France and the United States are not traditional cricketing countries and the host city, either Paris or Los Angeles, would have to request to add cricket to the program.

Brazil Joins Host Russia in Qualifying for 2018 World Cup

Brazil is looking like a solid favorite to win a sixth FIFA World Cup in Russia next year.

The five-time world champions became the first country other than hosts Russia to qualify for the 2018 tournament with a 3-0 win over Paraguay on Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

The victory guaranteed the Selecao can finish no worse than fourth in South American qualifying. The top four CONMEBOL countries earn a spot in Russia with the fifth place finisher facing a playoff against the winner of Oceania qualifying.

By losing only one of their first 14 games, Brazil wrapped up qualification with four matches to spare. Currently Brazil leads second-place Colombia by nine points in the standings.

Brazil remains the only country to compete in every edition of the World Cup.

As hosts, Russia automatically qualifies for the 2018 World Cup and is playing only friendly matches to prepare for the tournament.

The Russians on Tuesday came back from a 3-1 deficit at home to Belgium to salvage a 3-3 draw in the first football match to be played at Sochi’s Fisht stadium.

The 47,700-seat venue, which hosted the opening ceremony at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, has been reconstructed for the World Cup.

150 Days Until the 2017 Men's World Boxing Championships

The dates and venues for the five qualifying tournaments leading to the 2017 Men's World Boxing Championships have been announced, marking 150 days to go.

The tournaments - hosted April to June - will provide new boxers an opportunity to compete against more experienced names "for the first time in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle" according to AIBA.

"By becoming the sole qualification route for Hamburg, the importance of these Continental competitions has increased dramatically, giving each region’s boxers the opportunity to prove themselves against the very best and reach the World Championships," AIBA President Dr. C.K. Wu said in a statement.

"We look forward to working with the LOCs to deliver five first-class showcases of elite men’s boxing that will give our athletes the best platform on which to pursue their dreams of gold."

The ASBC Asian Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan April 30 - May 7 will be the first qualifying event, followed by the AFBC African Championships in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on May 27 - June 4. The AMBC Championships will take place next in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on June 10-18. Afterward the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine will host theEUBC European Championships from June 16-24.

The OCBC Oceania Championships in Gold Coast, Australia will be the final stop, scheduled for June 26 - 29.

The 2017 Men's World Boxing Championships will take place in Hamburg, Germany Aug. 25 - Sep. 3.

WTF at the United Nations

The World Taekwondo Federation hosted various combat sport demonstrations at the United Nations Headquarters as part of an International Day of Sport for Development and Peace celebration.

Among the activities were a three-round kyorugi match demonstration featuring Olympic medalist Jade Jones and junior championships' gold medalist Skylar Park.

The two will meet again to compete at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, Korea on June 24-30.

A team of youth aged 10-14 also led demonstrations in poomsae along with a mixed gender tag-team competition.

"It was great fun watching some of the spectacular taekwondo moves. The young athletes were fantastic and a real inspiration. It just goes to show that anyone of any age can practice taekwondo anywhere," a UN staff member said in a statement.

During a press conference ahead of the activities, Peace and Sport president Joel Bouzou recognized WTF for being the first to allow refugee athletes to participate in the qualification tournament for the Rio Games as well as its continued humanitarian efforts.

Written by Gerard FarekandCourtney Colquitt

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