(Text: EastBayWushu.com Photo: Lesley Chan)
Geng Xiaoling of HKG during Women’s Changquan at the 16th Asian Games in 2010.
Recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board meeting at the 123rd IOC session in Durban, South Africa, announced the eight sports shortlisted for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. From all of the candidates – Climbing, Baseball, Karate, Roller Sports, Softball, Squash, Wakeboard and Wushu – only one will be included in the Games. The IOC Program Commission will be studying intensively each sport and the battle for the single spot is going to be fierce without a doubt.
While Climbing and Wakeboard are newcomers to the Olympic movement, the other sports have already attempted and have been denied a spot in program before, Wushu since the Beijing Games in 2008; Squash, Karate, and Roller Sports since the London Games in 2012. The early front-runners appear to be Baseball and Softball as both were already Olympic disciplines before and enjoy the backing of huge sponsor firms.
Whether or not Wushu will make the cut remains to be seen. We could start by identifying some of the leading factors that the IOC will use to decide which sport and see how Wushu stands respectively. According to the IOC bylaws, these are the five main requirements:
1) To have an international federation that governs the sport, sets and enforces rules, organizes tournaments and other duties. The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) is that organization, founded in Beijing in 1990.
2) To be practiced in at least 40 countries in three continents in case of female sports or in at least 75 countries in four continents in case of male sports. Wushu is equally practiced by male and female. Currently, the IWUF has a total of 144 countries and regions in the five continents as follows: Africa , America , Asia , Europe  and Oceania .
3) To demonstrate the ability to successfully organize large scale continental and world competitions. The list of international large scale competitions organized by the IWUF since 1991 includes: World Wushu Championships, World Junior Wushu Championships, World Traditional Wushu Championships and the Sanshou World Cup.
4) To be a sport recognized by the IOC. The IWUF received provisional recognition at the 109th IOC Session in 1999 and gained official recognition at the 113th IOC Session in 2002. Apart from that, Wushu has been an official sport in many important IOC related events such as: the Asian Games, the Southeast Asian Games, the East Asian Games, the SportAccord Combat Games, the World Games, the World Children’s Games, and most recently it has been added to the South American Games program.
5) To comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) anti-doping code. The IWUF signed the Drug Testing Service Agreement with WADA in December of 2001.
As we can see, the competition routines of Wushu, apart from being an exciting event with tremendous cross-over appeal, clearly meet all the IOC requirements and therefore should be also considered as one of the strong candidates to be accepted into the sports program for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. For this to happen, Wushu would need to be voted by a 2/3 majority of IOC members at the 125th IOC Session in 2013, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Certainly, IWUF and its members worldwide will double their efforts towards common goals of development and promotion, and hence the Olympic dream may become a reality one day. After all, with such a rich content and growing popularity, there is no reason why Wushu shouldn’t become one of the better recognized martial art based sport disciplines in the world and a proud member of the Olympic family.
Here is a copy of the official letter received by IWUF