Posted On Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 07:46:42 AM
International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Olympic programme in Lausanne yesterday, a surprise decision that removes one of the oldest Olympic sports from the 2020 Games.
|Sushil Kumar outwrestles an opponent during the 2012 London olympics. (Below) Yogeshwar Dutt with his Olympic bronze
The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon -- the event considered most at risk -- and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 “core sports.” The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic programme.
Eliminating one sport allows the IOC to add a new sport to the programme later this year.
Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the programme for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In view of executive board, this was the best programme for the Olympic Games in 2020. It's not a case of what's wrong with wrestling, it is what's right with the 25 core sports.”
Adams said the decision was made by secret ballot over several rounds, with members voting each time on which sport should not be included in the core group. The figures were not disclosed.
IOC President Jacques Rogge did not vote. Wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year's London Olympics. Women's wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games.
Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.
They will be vying for a single opening in 2020. IOC executive board will meet in May in St Petersburg to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires.
It is extremely unlikely that wrestling would be voted back in so soon after being removed by the executive board. “Today's decision is not final. The session is sovereign and the session will make final decision,” Adams said.
Wrestling, which includes freestyle and Greco-Roman events, has been a part of the Olympics since the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. Wrestling lost to taekwondo and modern pentathlon in the close voting.
The sports were rated on 39 different criteria including television ratings and ticket sales based on the 2012 London Games.
• 344 wrestlers competed at the 2012 London Games
• There were 11 gold medal events in freestyle
• 7 in the Greco-Roman competition
• Wrestling is the national sport of Iran
• India have won 4 Olympic medals in wrestling
• Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav won a bronze in 1952 Helsinki
• Sushil Kumar won a bronze in Beijing 2008 and silver in London
► It is a huge setback for the sport. The sport was looking up in India. It had a bright future. Lot of youngsters were taking up the sport, especially after our success at the London Games.
SUSHIL KUMAR, BEIJING (BRONZE) AND LONDON (SILVER)
► I am surprised with IOC's decision because it is played in all the 209 member countries of FILA (international wrestling body). I see no logic behind removing wrestling
YOGESHWAR DUTT, BRONZE-WINNER AT THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS
► It is a Black Day for wrestling. We had already planned for the 2020 Games. We had a pool of 25 wrestlers for the next two Olympics
YASHVIR SINGH, COACH OF SUSHIL KUMAR AND YOGESHWAR DUTT
► There were different rounds of voting necessary to come to this conclusion. It is an extremely difficult decision. I cannot look into the eyes of my colleagues.
THOMAS BACH, IOC VICE PRESIDENT
► I’m absolutely convinced this ancient sport will retain its status. The whole wrestling community must take a more active role in the process.
MIKHAIL MAMIASHVILI (RUSSIA), GOLD MEDAL IN 1988