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IOC Includes 10K Open Water Event in 2008 Beijing Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has decided to include the 10-kilometer open water event on the swimming program for men and women at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Those races already are featured at swimming's world championships and they take place in rivers, lakes or oceans.

The IOC also voted Thursday to add the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase to the Beijing Games. That had been the only track and field event at the Olympics without women, and the race made its debut in the athletics World Championships in Helsinki in August.

Also approved by the IOC were increases in the number of women's teams in football (soccer), field hockey and handball from 10 to 12. And in table tennis, the doubles event will be replaced with a team event. Women's boxing was rejected.

The IOC is striving for gender equality in the Olympics and said the changes will result in 80 more female athletes at the Summer Games.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.