3x3 basketball among events added to 2020 Olympics

MANILA, Philippines - The International Olympic Committee approved 3x3 basketball and 14 other events to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Friday, June 9.

IOC sports director Kit McConnell said the Tokyo Games would include 321 events, up from 306 at Rio 2016, with mixed 4x400m relay among the new additions, a move the IOC hailed as "an important step for gender equality."

FIBA Secretary General and IOC Member Patrick Baumann said in a press statement. “It is the recognition of 10 years of hard work to codify the rules of 3x3 and to innovate with a unique 3x3 digital platform and player ranking system that bring together athletes with private and institutional organizers in a worldwide network of FIBA organized or sanctioned 3x3 events.”

The addition of 3x3 basketball will add 64 athletes (32 men and 32 women) to the Olympic roster, FIBA said. 

The variation of basketball debuted at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and was included at the 2014 YOG. The decision makes 3x3 the "first-ever new YOG discipline to be included in the Olympic program," the release says.

Mixed triathlon will also appear at Tokyo for the first time, along with a mixed team archery event and BMX freestyle.

"The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the 5 new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 program last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic program," IOC chief Thomas Bach said in a statement. 

The body's executive committee, meeting at IOC's lakeside headquarters in Lausanne, also managed to trim the number of total athletes competing by 285 compared to Rio, another key priority to guard against the Games growing increasingly bloated and costly. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com