French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch met Paris 2024 officials last week ©Presidence de la Polynesie Francaise

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has played down the chances of Tahiti hosting surfing competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The prospect was raised at a meeting with French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch, vice-president Teva Rohfritsch and members of the Organising Committee.

The duo were greeted by Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and Jean Castex, inter-ministerial delegate for the Olympic and Paralympic Games last week.

Fritch had said he had shown “great interest in the fact that French Polynesia can host the surf competitions during the 2024 Olympic Games".

"French Polynesia has strengths and experience in international surfing competitions,” he said.

“We also have a great sensitivity to the environment.”

It was claimed that Tahiti would submit an application to be the host of surfing competition, following confirmation that the sport would feature at the Games.

Tahiti, located in the Pacific Ocean, has previously held major surfing events, including World Surf League competitions.

IOC President Thomas Bach appeared to end Tahiti’s hopes of staging the Paris 2024 surfing competitions due to the distance from France.

When asked about the interest, Bach said the IOC would always opt in favour of a closer location to the Olympic host city when considering venues.

Biarritz is expected to be a candidate to host Paris 2024 surfing competitions ©Getty Images
Biarritz is expected to be a candidate to host Paris 2024 surfing competitions ©Getty Images

It comes as the IOC takes a more relaxed approach to venues for competitions as part of their New Norm reform process.

This has enabled Olympic Organising Committees and candidates to propose venues outside the main host city or in other countries in an effort to use existing facilities.

“I am not aware of this in detail,” Bach said, when asked about Tahiti’s interest.

“Maybe let us forget about Tahiti at this moment.

“If ever we have two alternatives where one alternative gives athletes of a particular sport more closeness to the heart of the Games and allows them to enjoy the magic and spirit of the Games better, then in the interests of the athletes we prefer this solution.”

It is expected that Biarritz and Marseille will emerge as candidates for the surfing competitions at Paris 2024, with construction of an artificial wave facility having been ruled out.

Biarritz held the World Longboard Surfing Championship earlier this month and hosted the World Surfing Games in 2017.

Marseille is already the host of sailing competitions at Paris 2024.

Surfing is one of four additional sports provisionally approved for Paris 2024 inclusion by the IOC earlier this week, along with breakdancing, sport climbing and skateboarding.

Surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding will make their Olympic debuts next year at Tokyo 2020.