Online petition to include cricket in London Olympics

August 8th, 2008 - 10:26 am ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
Beijing, Aug 8 (IANS) An Asian member of the London assembly has launched an online petition to persuade sporting authorities to include an international 20-over cricket competition as part of the 2012 Olympic Games in the British capital. Cricket enthusiast Murad Qureshi’s petition aims to lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Cricket Conference (ICC) and London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

Qureshi, who is in Beijing to lobby IOC members, said Thursday the petition can found on the website www.twenty20for2012.com.

Traditionally, the host Olympic nation introduces a national sport as a “demonstration” sport as part of its games, with the long-term view that this should become an official Olympic Sport in future years.

This has changed with the Beijing Olympics: with the removal of demonstration sports, host cities are now showcasing local sports as part of a “cultural Olympiad”. Beijing has incorporated wushu, a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts, into the cultural Olympiad.

Cricket was last played in the Olympics in 1900 when Great Britain beat France, the French team consisting of Britons living in Paris, reportedly mostly members of the British embassy.

With the commercial development of Twenty20 cricket through the England And Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the possibility of a short form of the game acceptable to international (non-cricketing) nations being played at the Olympics becomes a viable proposition, Qureshi said.

“London is the historic home of cricket, a sport which espouses the Olympic ideal of fair play through the ’spirit of the game’ now enshrined in the official rules by MCC,” Qureshi said.

“Hosting the Olympic Games in 2012 provides London an ideal opportunity to showcase cricket to a much wider global audience and, in return, to increase interest the Olympic Games amongst nations that don’t engage as fully with traditional athletics.

“By the time of the next Olympic plenary this autumn, I would like to be able to initially present the numeric support of cricket fans to the IOC and LOCOG as the first step in re-introducing cricket to the Olympic Games,” he added.

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