Photo/IllutrationKarate athletes in August 2016 form "2020," the year the sport will debut as an Olympic event. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Japanese sports officials were dismayed by a decision to drop karate, baseball and softball from the 2024 Paris Olympics, where break dancing will likely debut as a medal event.

The Organizing Committee for the Paris Olympics announced its candidate sports on Feb. 21 and excluded the three events in which Japan would be a medal favorite.

Sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding, which will debut as official events at the Tokyo Olympics next year, made the list, as did break dancing, which was selected for the Youth Olympics last year.

The International Olympic Committee will discuss the Paris committee’s recommendations ahead of approval by the IOC general assembly in June. An official decision on the sports will be made at the IOC board meeting in December 2020.

“I am very saddened because I have pushed for the continuation of karate at the Paris Olympics,” said Takashi Sasakawa, president of the Japan Karatedo Federation. “This must be a sad result for young athletes and others concerned. In France, karate is popular. Why did we fail?”

The Paris organizing committee proposed adding break dancing to appeal to the younger generation, a policy pushed by the IOC.

Likewise, 3X3 basketball proved popular at the Youth Olympics and was added as an official sport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Karate will debut as an Olympic sport next year, when baseball and softball will return for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games.

Baseball and softball were dropped as official events when another European capital, London, hosted the Summer Games in 2012.

Another IOC policy worked against the inclusion of baseball and softball in Paris.

Although there is no limit on the number of athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC is pushing for a ceiling of 10,500 athletes based on the Olympic Charter.

Only 32 people will compete in break dancing, while just one baseball team can have 24 players.

Moreover, the costs to prepare baseball and softball fields have turned off Olympic organizers.

“We were put in a harsh situation because people in European countries have less interest in baseball,” Masatake Yamanaka, president of the Baseball Federation of Japan, said. “It is important that we convey the attraction of baseball to people in Europe at the Tokyo Olympics.”

Shinsuke Yabata, vice chairman of National Teams Committee of the Japan Softball Association, added, “We will maintain our hope of making a comeback at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.”