August 13 - Golf and rugby sevens are set to be added at the 2016 Olympics and women's boxing will be included at London 2012 it was decided by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board here today.



The two favourites were chosen as the Executive Board's favoured choices but it does not mean that they will definitely be included in the 2016 Olympics.



Golf was played at the 1900 Paris Olympics and 1904 St Louis Games.


Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, the governing body for golf outside of the United States, said: "This is the biggest growth opportunity for golf.


"Golf has a lot to offer to the Olympic Movement.


The sport's backers say bringing the game back into the Olympics would help it develop worldwide, noting many Governments only fund Olympic sports.


Tiger Woods and other top players have indicated they would play in the Olympics if golf gets the nod from the IOC.


The sport proposes a 72-hole stroke-play competition for men and women, with 60 players in each field.


The world's top 15 players would qualify automatically, and all major professional tours would alter tournament schedules to avoid a clash with the Olympics.


Dawson said: "The top players are coming out with an overwhelming support.


"It's seven years time and we don't know who will be the top players then so we have some years time to continue to work and have them there."


Rugby, which was played in four different Olympics between 1900 and 1924 in the full 15-a-side format, proposes the seven-a-side version for both men and women.


The International Rugby Board (IRB) would scrap its Sevens World Cup to ensure the Olympics is the sport's top event.


Each sport must now receive a majority when the IOC's full membership of 106 votes on them at the Session in Copenhagen on October 9 before their place is confirmed.


But if either golf or rugby sevens does not receive enough votes it does not mean that the other five sports - baseball, karate, roller sports, softball and squash - can come back into contention.


It would mean tha only one sport would be added to the programme in 2016.


Bernard Lapasset, the President of the IRB, said: “We would like to thank the IOC Executive Board for selecting Rugby Sevens from what are seven strong and diverse sports.


"We recognise the significance of this milestone in our campaign but are also mindful that the ultimate decision rests with the IOC members when they meet in Copenhagen.

“The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the rugby family, providing the opportunity for the best men’s and women’s players in the world to showcase their talent on the world’s greatest sporting stage.


"The international Rugby community is united behind Rugby Sevens’ campaign and we now look ahead to October.”


altBut women's boxing will definitely make its debut at the London 2012 Olympics as the Executive Board has the power to add a discipline without having to refer it to the full membership.


Boxing was the only sport on the Olympic programme that women were not allowed to compete in and ends a long campaign by its supporters to be included.


Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, the President of the world governing body AIBA, said: "Women's Olympic boxing is a vote for the future.


"AIBA accepted women's boxing into its programme as long ago as 1994 and I am thrilled and delighted that, at long last, women can claim their rightful place alongside men on the Olympic boxing programme."

Women will compete at three weights in London - flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg) - with 12 boxers taking part at each weight.


In order for the total number of boxers to remain at 286 there will be one less weight category in the men's competition, meaning that there will be 10 instead of the 11 that there were at the Olympics in Beijing last year.


The men's light flyweight (under 48kg), which was introduced at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 and was won in Beijing last year by China's Zou Shiming, will be one that will be dropped.


Wu said: "The addition of women's boxing means that we finally have a truly universal Olympic Games.


"Nevertheless, we will strive to ensure a very successful first Olympic Games for women in London in order that the number of women participating at future Olympic Games may increase."


Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC, said: "I can only rejoice about the decision to include women's boxing in the Olympic Games.


"[Women's boxing] is a great addition since boxing was the only summer Olympic sport without a female discipline.


"Women's boxing has progressed a lot in the last five years and it is time to include them."