On June 9, 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a press release saying that its Executive Board (EB) adopted the program of events for the upcoming Olympic Games which will take place in 2020 in Tokyo.
One of the Executive Board’s decisions is to reduce the water polo team size to 11 players, as well as to add two more women’s water polo teams to the competition (there were eight). This means the reduction of 18 athletes when it comes to this sport. This change envisioned the participation of 132 male and 110 female water polo players.
FINA voiced its approval of the decision to add two more women’s water polo teams and three more swimming events in Tokyo 2020.
According to the IOC Executive Board’s release, youth and urban innovations will be introduced, gender equality will be enhanced, and the number of athletes will decrease. There will be 15 more events and 285 athletes less than in Rio 2016. In addition, 2020 Olympics are to be the most gender balanced games in history with 48, 8% female participants predicted. This is in accordance with the Recommendation number 11 listed in the IOC Agenda 2020. The Agenda was unanimously agreed at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco on the 8th and 9th of December 2014 and contains 40 recommendations.
The Recommendation 11 of the IOC Agenda 2020 is referring to fostering gender equality and reads as follows:
1. The IOC to work with the International Federations to achieve 50 per cent female participation in the Olympic Games and to stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities at the Olympic Games.
2. The IOC to encourage the inclusion of mixed-gender team events.
The data that enabled the International Federations to understand the general performance of their sports at the Olympic events was put together for the first time at event level in Rio 2016. International Federations were given a deadline (February 28, 2017) for their proposals regarding athlete quotas and competition formats. The suggestions were considered by the Olympic Programme Commission that held a meeting on May 5 after which their recommendations were sent to the IOC Executive Board and adopted on June 9, 2017.