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Gangwon set to host 2024 winter YOG, Baseball5 to feature at Dakar 2022

A general view during the Cross-Country Men's 50km Mass Start at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 24, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

The Gangwon province in South Korea appears set to be awarded hosting rights for the 2024 winter Youth Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board submitted the proposal to the IOC Session.

The proposal has been put forward by the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) and today’s (Wednesday’s) announcement comes after the IOC last month entered talks with the body to develop a plan to host the Games.

A series of meetings have since been held between the two parties and a vote will now take place on Friday during the 135th IOC Session in Lausanne, where this year’s winter Youth Olympic Games get underway tomorrow.

The IOC has received the required documentation from the Korean National Olympic Committee and the various levels of government. The IOC said the Korea proposal “benefits greatly” from the legacy of the 2018 winter Olympic Games, which took place in Pyeongchang.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission for the winter Olympics has held a series of meetings on the Gangwon proposal and has finalised a report confirming the aspects of its original assessment of the bid. According to the IOC, the proposal is based on a “solid technical plan” that builds on the Pyeongchang 2018 legacy and focuses on expanding youth participation in winter sport.

It has been proposed that host venues be split between the 2018 host cities of Gangneung and Pyeongchang in Gangwon province. As a result, Korean officials have chosen to officially designate the project ‘Gangwon 2024’.

The IOC added in a statement: “As per the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020, the Korean plan emphasises affordability and sustainability, making maximum use of existing and temporary facilities and aligning with the long-term sporting, economic and social goals of the host cities, region and country.

“The fourth winter Youth Olympic Games 2024 are the first to be covered by the IOC’s new approach to future host elections, which is based on flexibility and dialogue.”

It has previously been suggested that some events could be held in North Korea but the IOC did not include mention of the neighbouring country in today’s announcement. However, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the Associated Press news agency that North Korea could form part of the proposal “if the conditions are right”.

Brasov in Romania and Sofia in Bulgaria had previously expressed an interest in hosting the Games, while Russia, Spain and China were also said to be considering bids.

Baseball5 at Dakar 2022

Meanwhile, a short-form version of baseball has been added to the programme of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar.

The IOC executive board has approved the proposal from the Dakar 2022 organising committee to add ‘Baseball5’ to its line-up.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) describes Baseball5, which it introduced in 2017, as a “fast-paced and youth-focused urban discipline…a five-on-five, five-inning street version of baseball softball requiring virtually no equipment, can be played anywhere”.

The WBSC said: “The inclusion of Baseball5 as a medal event on the Dakar 2022 Sports Programme is an unprecedented development opportunity for baseball-softball in Africa. In 2019, the WBSC launched the African Development project which includes the use of Baseball5 as a tool to introduce the sport to a wider audience.”

The inclusion of Baseball5 will mark the first time that baseball-softball features at a Youth Olympic Games and it will also be the first Olympic team sport to feature mixed gender teams.