Wushu Included in Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games
On January 8, 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that wushu will be included in the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games (postponed to 2026). This will be the first time that wushu has been included in the YOG sports program. So far, in addition to the original 28 major events, the Dakar Youth Olympic Games in 2026 will add a total of 7 events including wushu.
This is a tremendous milestone in the development of wushu, and the positive outcome is the result of the hard work, longtime efforts and substantial global promotions of the IWUF and its 155 members over the past 30 years.
Wushu is now included in the next YOG as an official sport for several reasons:
- Wushu is popular among young athletes. It offers gender equality in competition, uncomplicated requirements for fields of play and equipment, and sustainable development. These characteristics are consistent with the principles, vision and mission of the YOG and the IOC.
- The promotion and popularization of wushu in Africa has been successful and steadily increasing. At present, the IWUF has 39 national federations in the African continent. In recent years, the competitive level of African wushu athletes has steadily improved. At the last two World Junior Wushu Championships in Bulgaria and Brazil athletes from Africa won three gold medals. Wushu is an official event at the All-Africa Youth Games held in 2018.
- The Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, China in 2022. As the representative of Chinese traditional sports, wushu’s inclusion in the YOG in 2022 creates a positive relationship which will promote the preparation of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
- It will enhance understanding and friendship among youth from different countries, cultures, and beliefs, help promote understanding, and create cultural exchanges between the East and the West.
The Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games is expected to welcome 48 athletes from all over the world to participate in four events: Men’s Changquan & Gunshu Combined, Men’s Taijiquan & Taiji Fan Combined, Women’s Changquan & Gunshu Combined, Men’s Taijiquan & Taiji Fan Combined.
To date, IWUF has hosted and grown its major signature events all over the globe, including 15 World Wushu Championships and 8 Junior World Wushu Championships, and has tracked steady growth in participation and an increase in athlete skill levels. The federation has also built up elite athlete championships including the Sanda World Cup and Taolu World Cup, and has created a dedicated tournament for the globally popular sport of taijiquan in the World Taijiquan Championships. Wushu is celebrated by many thousands at the ever-growing sport-for-all event World Kungfu Championships, which will see its eighth edition in Emeishan, China. IWUF has gained significant recognition in the global sport community by successfully getting wushu added as a competition or exhibition sport to a number of important and diverse multi-sport games — including the Asian Games, the Summer Universiade, the World University Games, the World Combat Games, the African Youth Games, the Asian-Pacific Masters Games, and the Islamic Solidarity Games.
Wushu and the Olympics
In 2001, the International Wushu Federation first applied for wushu’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, the IWUF was approved by the International Olympic Committee to hold the “Beijing 2008 Wushu Competition” and “Nanjing 2014 Wushu Competition” in accordance with the Olympic model and standards, as cultural programs. Members of the International Olympic Committee including Presidents Mr. Rogge and Mr. Bach went to the stadium to watch wushu competitions and award medals. Wushu was also the only awarding ceremony by Mr. Bach at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. Through the promotion of the Beijing Olympic Games and Nanjing Olympic Games, the image and international recognition of wushu has been greatly improved.