26 Mar 2017

From the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) website, comes the story of the members of the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Japan voting to allow full female membership in order to retain their Olympic Games hosting rights. The club, a short drive northwest of Tokyo, had been earmarked to host the Olympic golf tournament as soon as the city were awarded the Games. Controversy had been brewing, however, once revealed that female members of the club did not have the same voting or playing rights as their male counterparts.

From the AGIF news release,

Golf at the 2020 Olympic Games will proceed at its originally intended venue after the club voted to allow women to become full members.

The Kasumigaseki Country Club, north-west of Tokyo, has long had restrictions on women’s membership, including limiting the days women were allowed to play.

These conditions were in conflict with the International Olympic Committee’s non-discrimination principles.

Australian Olympic boss John Coates, also chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Co-ordination Commission, worked closely with the local organising committee to ensure they were changed.

Those discussions have paid off with the Kasumigaseki Country Club board voting to allow women to become full members of the club at an extraordinary board meeting.

“Gender equality is a fundamental principle of the Olympic movement … and we believe this decision now reflects this,” Coates told Golf Australia.

“While we had made our position on non-discrimination clear as soon as we became aware of their rules, it was important that the members of the club be given the opportunity to make the change in their good time.

“It is their club and at the end of the day we had to be welcomed by them.”

After a 112-year Olympic break, golf returned to the Olympic Games in Rio and will make its fourth Games appearance in Tokyo.

 

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