gaining full recognition, which includes introduction into the Olympic
programme, requires a majority vote of the 115 Olympic members at a
full Session of the IOC. This would only be put to the vote once
amateur sumo had convinced the powers that be that they are ready to
become a fully-fledged Olympic sport.
As a point of comparison, five other sports that have IOC provisional recognition were presented to the Olympic Session in Singapore in July 2005 to be considered for the 2012 Olympic programme. Days earlier, the Olympic Games had been awarded to London and the decision before the Session was the sporting make up for 2012. Two sports (baseball and softball) were dropped, and none of the five provisional sports (Roller Sports, Golf, Rugby Sevens, Karate and Squash) gathered enough votes to be included. A message was sent that the Olympiad needs to be a manageable two-week event and that there were already enough
For those of us interested in amateur sumo, the past two or three months
have raised issues about the direction of the sport, the stakeholders
within and around it, and the issue of player welfare and development.
In one corner is the International Sumo Federation (IFS) and its system
of continental and national sumo federations under the IFS umbrella. In
the other corner stand Big Boy Productions and their World Sumo League
(WSL), an attempt at staging and popularising the sport for commercial
profit that began in North America in the past 12 months. The differing
approaches of the IFS and WSL beg the question: Where is amateur sumo
The International Sumo Federation is the established
sports federation that administers amateur sumo worldwide. It currently
has over 80 members, which are the national federations of various
countries throughout five continents. Regional and world tournaments
are held under this umbrella, and national federations generally hold
tournaments in their countries in accordance with international rules.
The IFS has been provisionally recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as having met some of the requirements for entry into the Olympic Games. What remains for the IFS (and approximately 30 other sports which are similarly provisionally recognised) is a process whereby the sport is elected into the programme of the Olympic Games. However,