It's being reported that the ancient Chinese game of mahjong could possibly be inclued in the sporting program of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games. But Chen Zelan, president of International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) played down the rumors here on Thursday, saying it remains a remote possibility at the moment, since mahjong has not been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Chen pointed out that the Mahjong International League (MIL) was just admitted as the sixth member of IMSA on April 5 at the first 2017 IMSA Executive Board Meeting.
"The six mind sports can be devided into three levels. Chess and bridge, which have already been recognized as sports by the IOC, have the prioroty to be admitted to the Games. Among the other four mind sports, go and draughts are official member sports of Sportaccords while Xiangqi and Mahjong are still just observers of it, let alone (could they be included in the) Winter Olympic Games," said Chen.
Chen said that the IMSA are making efforts for the Olympic recognition of mind sports, yet they still have to do more to achive this goal. She added that Mahjong now is not officially recognized as a sport even in China.
Acoording to Chen, MIL hopes to remove the gambling tag from this traditional game by instroducing a "duplicate mahjong" form of competition and building a database including millions sets of tiles with different glossaries and the same functions. These changes, (similar to duplicate forms of bridge that have been introduced to make the sport scorable in competitions) will make Mahjong in the IMSA quite different from the traditional one which is popular among the public.