Fernando Aguerre believes Tokyo 2020 will highlight the major change to the Olympic programme ©Getty Images

International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre has claimed Tokyo 2020 will show the most important change to the Olympic programme in decades, with four additional sports set to debut.

Surfing was one of five sports added to the programme for the Games in Japan's capital city, after being approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at their Session in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Sport climbing, skateboarding and karate will also make their Olympic debuts, while baseball and softball returns to the programme for the first time since Beijing 2008.

Aguerre has claimed the new sports show the IOC's drive to reach a younger audience.

"The IOC, and I think the world, wanted youth," Aguerre said, according to Reuters.

"So in the beach and ocean, coolest sport? Surfing.

"Streets, coolest sport? Skateboarding.

"Outdoor coolest sport? Climbing.

"So suddenly, in one giant stroke they add the three environments; the outdoor, the ocean and urban.

"It will be the single most important programme change in decades, probably ever."

Surfing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Surfing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Aguerre claimed older sports needed to adapt to ensure their Olympic status in future editions of the Games.

Surfing is set to appear at two consecutive Games after being approved for Paris 2024 inclusion, alongside breakdancing, skateboarding and sport climbing.

The ISA President told insidethegames during the Pan American Games in Lima that he was hopeful back-to-back appearances at the Olympics could ultimately lead to surfing earning permanent status on the programme.

"For many years I woke up and thought it might not happen, it was too difficult, and Olympism was so closed, so tight," he said.

"Now we are in the challenge to give a great first impression, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

"We have to do things right and as I told President [Thomas] Bach after the vote, I am not here just for Tokyo, but we are here to stay."

Tokyo 2020 will feature 40 surfers competing in shortboard events, split evenly between men and women.

The Pan American Games offered one quota place to men's and women's gold medallists, while the World Surfing Games saw the spots for Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania determined.

The remaining quota places will be awarded to surfers through the World Surf League and next year's World Surfing Games.