One of the IFSC's members is considering a name change ahead of the Tokyo 2020 decision ©IFSC

The Japanese Mountaineering Association (JMA) is considering a name and structure change ahead of sport climbing’s expected inclusion on the programme for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

The governing body in Japan would play a key role in helping to oversee the sport climbing competition should the sport be given the green light at the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Session in Rio de Janeiro which is due to start tomorrow.

A proposal to change the name of the JMA, established back in 1960, to include a reference to sport climbing has been put forward, with a decision on the matter expected towards the end of this month.

It would be renamed the Japanese Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Association if the organisation agrees to the change.

The alteration to the title of the JMA would enable them to “provide guidance and spread correct climbing and mountain sports”, they claim.

It would also “aim to link traditional values of mountain climbing and modern competition climbing, which have often been seen as distinct and perhaps even incompatible”.

Sport climbing is enjoying rapid development in Japan ©IFSC
Sport climbing is enjoying rapid development in Japan ©IFSC

The sport is rapidly developing in Japan, which now has over 600,000 practioners, according to the International Sport Climbing Federation (IFSC).

The JMA would be following in the footsteps of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) should they rubber-stamp the name change.

The BMC agreed to alter their title to Climb Britain last week.

“The word ‘climb’ is evocative, something ingrained in us as children when we climbed our first tree or hill,” chief executive Dave Turnbull said.

The IFSC is leading the bid for inclusion at Tokyo 2020, with the IOC’s membership-at-large expected to grant the sport a place on the programme for the Games in the Japanese capital.

Baseball softball, karate, surfing and skateboarding are also likely to be added by the IOC.