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Golf and rugby sevens win 2016 Olympics vote- 14 Aug 2009 00:00:00

Golf and rugby sevens have emerged as the two new sports set for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board voted for their addition to the Olympic programme during a meeting in Berlin.

Softball, squash, baseball, karate and roller sports were also hoping to be included, but have all missed out with golf and rugby sevens put forward to fill the two available spaces.

The recommendation must be rubber-stamped by a full meeting of the IOC congress in Copenhagen in October.

Golf was played at the Paris Games in 1900 - when Walter Rutherford and David Robertson won silver and gold respectively for Great Britain - and four years later in St Louis, but has never returned to the Olympic agenda.

The proposed format would be a 72-hole strokeplay 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.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said winning an Olympic gold medal would remain one of the main ambitions for top golfers, despite the traditional lure of the four major championships - the Masters, the Open, the US Open and the USPGA.

Rogge said: ‘This is the young generation that will be at its peak in 2016. The same question was raised time and time again when tennis and ice-hockey were introduced.

‘Ask Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, ask the NHL players, ask the NBA basketball players. They all want to go to the games - they are absolutely not concerned about that.’

Fears that a number of the sport's top players would not compete in the Games have proved unfounded with world number one Tiger Woods leading the way in stating his intention to take part.

Rugby union, 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 would scrap its Sevens World Cup to ensure the Olympics is the sport's top event. Sevens rugby is already part of the Commonwealth Games.

The 15-member board selected the proposed sports for 2016 by secret ballot over several rounds, with the sport receiving the fewest votes eliminated each time. Rogge, who chairs the board, did not vote.

Rugby was the clear winner overall, getting seven votes in the first round and a majority of nine in the second. In a separate ensuing vote, golf needed four rounds to get through.

Karate actually led the first round with five votes, with golf getting three. Golf then got six votes in the second, seven in the third and nine in the fourth.

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