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Is padel an Olympic sport?

Is padel an Olympic sport?

- Categories : adidas Padel , News

Padel is a sport that is in constant growth all over the world. Each week, more people pick up a racket for the first time and take to the court to play their first shots in the game. Indeed, it is reaching new audiences, as evidenced by the opening of the highest padel court in Europe recently.

But with the Olympics taking place in Paris in 18 months time, we wanted to answer a question that is frequently asked: “Is padel an Olympic sport?”. In this post, we’ll answer that question in greater detail.

Requirements to be an Olympic sport

Sports that aim to take part in the Olympic Games, or that are already included, need to meet certain criteria set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). There are four main points that need to be fulfilled for a sport to be considered. These are:

  • It must officially have an international federation. Essentially, it means there must be an institution or organisation that regulates the game on a worldwide level. In addition, the governing federation must meet the ethical requirements of the Olympic Committee and regularly participate in tournaments and events.
  • It must comply with the World Anti-Doping Code. This is a key factor in gaining Olympic recognition. The international federation of the sport in question must adhere to the strict WADA code.
  • No motor equipment is allowed. Sports included in the Olympic Games are ones in which athletes are not aided by any type of motor equipment.
  • There is a minimum number of countries in which the sport is played. For a sport to be included in the Olympics, it needs to be played in a minimum of 75 countries and 4 continents in the men’s category, and 40 countries and 3 continents in the women's category.

Does padel meet the criteria?

Now we have looked at the main criteria for a sport to be considered for inclusion in the Olympic Games, where does that leave our beloved sport, padel, today?

Well, we know there is an international federation that governs the world game, the International Padel Federation. And the Federación Internacional de Pádel​​ (FIP), as it is known in Spanish, adheres to WADA guidelines. That means the first two points are met already.

The third point is obviously no issue too - no motor equipment is needed in padel. Just a ball and racket, of which there are many to choose from.

The final point is the one where padel misses out. While the game is played on all continents, it falls short on the number of countries it is played in, especially in the men’s category. However, it is not all bad news. While it doesn’t quite reach the criteria, padel has been given Association of IOC Recognized International Sport (ARISF) status, meaning that it will be monitored on a regular basis as it grows. When it reaches all the criteria, it can then be considered for selection at the Olympic Games.

When can we expect to see padel at the Olympics?

Complicating matters further is the fact that the Olympics takes place over about two weeks and fits in 28 different sports. However, there are more than 28 sports recognised by the IOC, meaning a selection process needs to take place. The process takes place around seven years before the Games - so we know padel won’t be making an appearance in Paris 2024, or in Los Angeles in 2028 - because the selection for that took place in 2021.

However, if the sport keeps growing as it does, then in 2025 the IOC will select the sports for the next Olympic Games. So let’s hope padel makes its debut at the Olympics in Brisbane 2032!

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