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'It's a stain on skateboarding': WSF president on removal of sport from Pan Ams

The cancellation of skateboarding from the Pan American Games this summer, amid a dispute regarding qualification, could lead to an "embarrassing" debut of the sport at next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, says World Skateboarding Federation president Tim McFerran.

Tim McFerran hopes further embarrassment is avoided ahead of 2020 Olympics

Skateboarding was to be one of 39 sports contested at the Pan Am Games this summer in Lima, Peru, before it was axed by the Pan American Sports Organization last week amid a dispute regarding qualification. (Getty Images/File)

The cancellation of skateboarding from the Pan American Games this summer, amid a dispute regarding qualification, could lead to an "embarrassing" debut of the sport at next summer's Olympics in Tokyo, says World Skateboarding Federation president Tim McFerran.

The Pan American Sports Organization, which represents the 41 National Olympic Committees of North America, South America, Central American and the Caribbean, determined World Skate — the skateboarding governing body for Tokyo 2020 — and the Pan Am Confederation of Roller Sport hadn't fulfilled requirements on the qualification system.

"Although we had the commitment of World Skate that the Pan American Games would be a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, this was never concrete and we finally received confirmation that it would not be one of the events that offered points towards qualification to the Olympic Games," Panam Sports wrote in a letter to the two organizations.

Qualifications for the Pan Am Games reportedly had started when the Olympic process was outlined and World Skate couldn't reach an agreement with the local organizing committee in Lima, Peru.

"Ultimately, they had no choice. They had to kick skateboarding out," McFerran told insidethegames.biz. "It's outrageous. I hope someone investigates these characters before we are further embarrassed at the Olympics.

"When is the last time a sport was kicked out of the Pan American Games? It's a stain on skateboarding."

'Lack of respect'

Panam Sports also criticized the classification process established by the Pan American Confederation that "excluded several of the best countries in this discipline, leaving out many of the best athletes of the continent" for the July 26-Aug. 11 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

The body pointed out World Skate and Street League Skateboarding (SLS) also showed a "lack of respect" by scheduling an SLS World Tour in Los Angeles — one of the competitions offering ranking points for Olympic hopefuls — on two days of the Pan Am competition.
According to insidethegames, McFerran had previous concerns with the involvement of the SLS, which invites athletes to their events, thus preventing those from less-developed nations from qualifying for the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee is relying on World Skate and SLS to oversee the Olympic skateboarding competition in Tokyo as well as its qualification system.

In a statement, World Skate said it regretted the decision taken by Panam Sports and promised in the future to "give top priority to key events such as the Pan-American Games by means of a qualification process able to guarantee quality, transparency and equal opportunities to athletes and the entire sport community."

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