By Tom Degun

wushu 17-09-12September 17 - Wushu is facing its key inspection from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the 4th World Junior Wushu Championships, the sport's evaluation event for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games, began today in Macau.

The Championships, which will feature both male and female athletes between 15 and 18 years of age, will run from today to September 25 and be the biggest to date as it takes place in the Tap Seac Multi-sports Pavilion in Macau, a special administrative region of China.

Wushu is a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts composed of two disciplines, which are taolu and sanda.

Governed by the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), the sport was developed in China in 1949.

The IWUF has failed to get the sport included on the official Olympic sports programme at previous Games although the IOC allowed China to organise an unofficial international wushu exhibition event during Beijing 2008.

Many experts consider wushu to be outside contenders to make the 2020 Olympic programme and it has a hugely important figure fighting its corner in the form of IWUF President Yu Zaiqing of China.

Yu Zaiqing_and_Jacques_Rogge_17-09-12Yu Zaiqing (pictured with IOC President Jacques Rogge) has held a number of significant positions within the Olympic Movement, including as vice-president of the IOC and Beijing 2008, as well as being a current vice-president of the Chinese Olympic Committee

The 61-year-old, who was vice-president of Beijing 2008, became an IOC member in 2000 and has since held numerous powerful positions in the organisation, including the role of IOC vice-president from 2008 to 2012.

"Wushu is a sport that embodies many of the Olympic values," said Zaiqing.

"We believe that it can make a fantastic contribution to the Olympic Games and we are very honoured that the IOC has shortlisted wushu for inclusion for the 2020 Olympic Games.

"We are hopeful we can now prove that our sport deserves to be at the Games."

Wushu is one of seven sports bidding to make the 2020 Olympic programme alongside climbing, karate, roller sport, squash, wakeboard, baseball and softball, with the latter two likely to make a joint bid.

All the sports will be assessed at a major championships before the end of the year before the IOC compiles a report on the merits of each discipline and its bid based largely on the evaluation event.

The IOC will then make a final decision on which sport, if any, to include on the 2020 Olympic programme at its Session in Buenos Aires in September next year.

Only a maximum of 28 sports are allowed at the Olympic Games and this will be reached at Rio 2016 with the inclusion of golf and rugby sevens.

However, it is highly likely that at least one of the seven bid sports will be included in the 2020 Olympic sports programme with the IOC set to remove a minimum of one discipline currently on the sports programme.

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