By Gary Anderson

A UCI error has potentially put Para-cycling's place at Tokyo 2020 at risk ©AFP/Getty ImagesInternational Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson has suffered major embarrassment after his organisation failed to submit its application for the sport's inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 programme on time to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The mistake was revealed by IPC President Sir Philip Craven today when announcing 16 sports have been approved for the Paralympic Games in six years' time, including badminton for the first time.

But cycling, part of the Paralympic Games programme since 1984, was conspicuous by its absence on the confirmed list of 16.

"The UCI only submitted its application late last week," revealed Sir Philip, following a meeting of the IPC Governing Board in Berlin.

"As a result there was insufficient time for it to be assessed in time.

"The IPC management team will now assess the application, identifying any issues they may have with it, before the Governing Board discuss it at January's meeting."

That meeting early next year is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi from January 30 to February 1.

Cycling will be up against taekwondo, canoeing, football five-a-side, football seven-a-side, judo, sailing and wheelchair fencing in a fight for the remaining seven spots for Tokyo 2020, when the IPC decides on the final line-up in Abu Dhabi.

Cycling has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1984 ©Getty ImagesCycling has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1984 ©Getty Images

Cookson had trumpeted the growth and development of cycling in the Paralympics as one of the "six pillars" of his election manifesto last year.

The Briton replaced Ireland's Pat McQuaid as the head of world cycling during elections at the UCI Congress in Florence in September 2013.

"It is also important that we support more international events for Para-cyclists," Cookson wrote in his manifesto in the build-up to the election.

"Athletes thrive on high quality competition but the Para-cycling calendar is presently bare.

"We need to increase the number of races and raise standards by providing better support and working closer with event organisers."

Great Britain has been the leading nation at the last two Paralympic Games, winning a total of 25 gold medals across Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

One member of the British squad at both Games, Jody Cundy, took to social media to vent his anger at the error.

"How as riders can we have faith in the UCI, when they can't even submit an application to be in the Tokyo2020 Paralympics on time. #shocking," wrote Cundy, who won two track golds at Beijing 2008.

"It's not like there's lots going on in ParaCycling world that the UCI would of have been too busy to send in the application on time."

British gold medallist Jody Cundy has taken to Twitter to criticise the International Cycling Union over its failure to submit its application for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on time ©TwitterBritish gold medallist Jody Cundy has taken to Twitter to criticise the International Cycling Union over its failure to submit its application for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on time ©Twitter

The deadline for final submissions, including the completion of a comprehensive questionnaire outlining each sport's, credentials had been due on July 25.

Following the submission of applications from the eligible sports, the IPC assessed 23 of the 24 applications received and made recommendations to the IPC Governing Board, approving 16 of them

Joining badminton so far are athletics, archery, boccia, equestrian, goalball, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

The UCI claimed in a statement that it remains committed to the promotion of Para-cycling and promised to work closely with the IPC between now and the meeting in Abu Dhabi.

"The UCI will work closely with the International Paralympic Committee and its Governing Board ahead of its next meeting in early 2015 where it will decide the full list of sports that will feature in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games," the statement read.

"The UCI remains fully committed to the promotion of Para-cycling and look forward to a positive dialogue with the IPC over the next few months to ensure that cycling continues to play its part in helping the Paralympic Games go from strength to strength."

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