Watch: IOC Says Virat Kohli's Popularity One Of The Main Reasons Behind Cricket's Inclusion in 2028 Olympics

Watch: IOC Says Virat Kohli's Popularity One Of The Main Reasons Behind Cricket's Inclusion in 2028 Olympics

Italy's Olympic champion shooter and sports director at LA28, Niccolo Campriani, referred to Indian superstar Virat Kohli's popularity while making the pitch to the IOC in Mumbai.

PTIUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 04:07 PM IST
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Virat Kohli's popularity and the growing market of cricket worldwide has prompted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include the sport in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics on Monday.

Cricket is among five sports to be included in the Olympics from the 2028 edition. Squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse and flag football are the other sports.

Italy's Olympic champion shooter and sports director at LA28, Niccolo Campriani, referred to Indian superstar Virat Kohli's popularity while making the pitch to the IOC in Mumbai.

"My friend here Virat (Kohli) is the third-most followed athlete in the world with 340 million followers on social media. That is more than Le Bron James, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods combined.

"This is the ultimate win-win-win for the LA28, the IOC and cricket community as cricket will be showcased on a global stage to grow beyond the traditional cricket countries," Campriani said.

BCCI's role in cricket's inclusion

The massive following of cricket in India, the world's most populous nation, and the BCCI supporting the ICC in its Olympic bid also went a long way in securing a spot in the LA28 programme.

It was only in 2021 that the BCCI changed its stance to back the game's inclusion in the Summer Games after years of opposition fearing a threat to its autonomy.

"The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics is set to open new frontiers for the sport, providing unparalleled exposure in untapped global markets," said BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

"Moreover, we anticipate that this decision will yield significant financial dividends and have a profound positive impact on our sport's eco-system.

"It will fuel infrastructural development, intensify competition, foster youth development, and create opportunities for officials, volunteers, and skilled professionals," he added.

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