Olympics: Modern Pentathlon and taekwondo are considered most at risk as the International Olympic Committee prepares to axe one sport from its programme at its executive board meeting in Lausanne tomorrow.
Board members will vote on which current sport to sacrifice, with golf and rugby sevens — due to make their Olympic debuts in Rio in 2016 — not eligible for expulsion.
The excluded sport will get a chance to reclaim its Olympic place as it will be automatically included on the list of hopefuls to be added for the 2020 Games, with a decision due at the IOC session in Buenos Aires in September.
The sports already bidding for a 2020 place are squash, karate, wakeboarding, wushu, rollersports, rock climbing and a joint bid by baseball and softball, sports which were excluded after the Beijing Games.
While modern pentathlon is seen as favourite to be axed, it retains strong support among some elements of the IOC due to its rich Olympic history, having been invented by the founder of the modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
It has also made a significant bid to appease its critics by planning for all five elements of its prospective Rio 2016 programme — fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting — to take place in the same stadium.
Taekwondo is another sport at risk. Its omission would come as a major blow to Britain following the success of Jade Jones and Lutalo Muhammad (pictured above) at the London Games.
Taekwondo is seen as vulnerable due to the strong claims of karate to be included at its expense, although it is coming off a strong performance in 2012 in which it produced gold medallists from eight different nations.
Great Britain taekwondo performance director Gary Hall said: “I know the World Taekwondo Federation have done everything they can to improve things and they continue to look to the future with further improvements in mind.”
Table tennis could be another candidate due to the continued dominance of the sport by the Chinese, who have won 24 of 28 available gold medals since the sport was first introduced to the Olympic programme in 1998.