China is considering the idea of putting forward a formal application to the International Olympic Committee to consider the traditional Chinese game of Mahjong as an Olympic event. "With Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, we hope that ’mind sports’ could become Olympic events at this time," said Chen Zelan, a deputy director of the General Administration of Sport.
Mahjong recently became the sixth officially-recognized ’mind sport’ by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), following bridge, chess, Go, Chinese chess and international checkers. In an effort to support and promote ’mind sports,’ Chen Zelan says authorities have put forward Mahjong and other ’mind sports’ as an option to make the Games more interesting.
"Some tropical countries, due to various limitations, won’t take part in the Winter Olympics. Thus, the IOC is always looking at ways to expand the global reach of the Winter Games. Snow and ice events, plus indoor events, could increase the coverage," said Chen.
"Beijing is to host 2022 Winter Olympics, so at this point we’re only discussing the option with Beijing organizers," said Chen. "But because the host country is traditionally allowed to put forward demonstration sports to Olympic Games, if the IMSA can reach an agreement with the IOC, then we might consider putting Mahjong forward as a test event."