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Track and tennis changes for London

11 December 2009

The 2012 London Olympics will host a mixed doubles tennis event for the first time as well as more women's cycling, the International Olympic Committee announced on Thursday.

But the changes, made in a bid to increase the prominence of women's sport, will spell the end of the individual cycling track pursuit races at the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the changes after an executive board meeting.

The changes will increase the number of women cyclists at the Olympics from 35 in Beijing to 84 - 45 per cent of the track cyclists instead of about a fifth - by introducing more track events for women.

The changes were made under a "commitment to increase women's participation," the IOC said in a statement.

"The inclusion of a tennis mixed doubles event will not increase the current number of athletes and will bring added value to the Olympic programme by providing another opportunity for men and women to compete together on the same field of play," the IOC added.

In cycling, women will compete in sprint, team sprint, team keirin, team pursuit and new omnium events, while individual pursuit, points race and madison events will be dropped altogether.

IOC president Jacques Rogge defended the changes, saying they follow a recommendation from the International Cycling Union to focus more on endurance events.

AAP

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