By David Owen in Durban

Olympic_ringsJuly 5 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed on a shortlist of eight sports to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Games.

The IOC's Executive Board listed baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu for possible addition to the sports programme for the next Summer Olympics after Rio de Janeiro 2016.

The contest for these Games will get under way in earnest following the conclusion of this week's IOC Session, with Rome, Tokyo, a Middle East country and possibly Madrid likely to be among the front-runners.

An additional four sports – dance, bowling, surf and netball - were considered by the IOC but failed to make it onto the shortlist.

The decision means that the eight successful sports will enter a complicated assessment process culminating at the next IOC Session but one, to be held in Buenos Aires in 2013.

The sports in question will be evaluated by the IOC's Programme Commission, with observers sent to their leading events.

IOC President Jacques Rogge told media here that a full report would be prepared by early 2013, at which time a further shortlist might be drawn up.

At the 2013 Session, one sport would be recommended for inclusion in the 2020 programme.

The process is further complicated because, after next year's London Olympics, one of the 26 sports performed there will be cut from the list of core Olympic sports.

This eliminated sport will, however, be able to compete with the eight on the new shortlist for the one vacant 2020 slot.

Several of the eight, including karate, squash and roller sports were in the frame last time the IOC assessed the sports in its summer programme.

This resulted in golf and rugby sevens being added, with both scheduled to take their place at Rio 2016.

The World Squash Federation was quick off the mark in welcoming its inclusion in the new shortlist, with president N. Ramachandran saying he was "confident that we will be able to show the IOC Programme Commission, the Executive Board and the wider IOC membership that our case has become even stronger over recent years".

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