Wrestling in shock as IOC wields Games axe

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:38pm EST
 
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By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - Wrestling was left in a state of shock after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a surprise recommendation on Tuesday to drop the sport from the 2020 Games.

Contested in the first modern Olympics in 1896 and part of the ancient Games in Olympia, wrestling will now join seven other candidate sports battling for one spot in a revamped program.

It is unlikely, however, that it will get a reprieve when the IOC session in Buenos Aires votes on the recommendation in September as this would defeat the purpose of Tuesday's vote.

"This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters following an Executive Board meeting. "It is the session which is sovereign."

"It was a decision to look at the core sports, what works best for the Olympic games. This was the best program for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what's wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games."

The vote came as a major shock after other sports, including modern pentathlon and taekwondo, were seen as more at risk of losing out due to their low global appeal.

"FILA was greatly astonished by today's recommendation of the IOC Executive Board not to maintain wrestling among the 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games," the international wrestling federation said in a statement.

It said the federation was represented in 180 countries, "with wrestling being the national sport in a fair amount of them and the only possibility for athletes to represent their country at the Olympic Games, thus contributing to their universality.   Continued...