The International Olympic Committee has given muaythai and cheerleading provisional recognition as Olympic sports.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell told the Reuters news agency that 16 sports had applied for recognition, with muaythai and cheerleading set to receive $25,000 (€23,000) per year in direct funding from the organisation after becoming the 36th and 37th sports to be recognised by the IOC.
The two sports will also be able to participate in IOC-operated athlete development and anti-doping programmes. After three years, the International Cheer Union (ICU) and the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) can apply to become part of the Olympic Games programme.
"Muaythai is an organisation with 135 national federations, nearly 60 are recognised by their national Olympic Committees and nearly 400,000 registered athletes,” McConnell said following the decision of the IOC Executive Board. “The International Cheer Union has over 100 national federations and nearly 4.5 million registered athletes. It is a sport with growing popularity, a strong youth focus in schools and universities and we noted that.
“The door has not been shut for the other applicants,” McConnell said, without naming the 14 sports that did not receive recognition. “We will continue to look at the other applications we received.”
In other news, former Switzerland President Samuel Schmid has assumed control of an IOC investigation into doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games after French judge Guy Canivet stepped down. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that Canivet had stepped down for "strong personal reasons".