By Sports wire : CHANDIGARH, SEPT 8 : Wrestling, an ancient sport, today floored its opponents baseball/softball and squash to remain in the Olympic fold. Wrestling was elected today as an additional sport for the Summer Olympic Games of 2020 and 2024.
The decision was made at the 125th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after the full membership of the IOC agreed on the 25 sports that will form the core for the 2020 Games, awarded yesterday to the city of Tokyo. Wrestling got 49 votes while baseball/softball received 24 votes and squash 22.
The Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) made a presentation to the Session, along with the International Federations of baseball/softball (WBSC) and squash (WSF), all shortlisted by the IOC Executive Board in May following an extensive evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission. The IOC members voted for wrestling with a simple majority of votes cast in the first round.
In their efforts to retain wrestling in the Olympics, United States, Russia and Iran were among those countries which were on the same side
FILA president Nenad Lalovic has been quoted as saying that wrestling leaders weren’t allowed to watch the other presentations because of IOC rules. “But we heard our presentation was the best and the most emotional,” Lalovic said. “The burden we carried on our back was much bigger than the other sports have. We were fighting to survive.”
Before presentation to the IOC, Nenad Lalovic described that “this is the most important day in the 3,000-year history of our sport,”
“I would like to offer my congratulations to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “Wrestling has shown great passion and resilience in the last few months. They have taken a number of steps to modernise and improve their sport, including the addition of more women and athletes in decision-making positions; rule changes to make the sport more exciting and easy to understand; and an increase in the number of women’s competitions. We are pleased with their reaction and happy to have wrestling on the Olympic programme in 2020 and 2024.”
In order to control the size, cost and complexity of the Games, the Olympic Programme was capped in 2002 at 28 sports, approximately 300 events and a target of 10,500 athletes. It was also decided that a systematic review of the Olympic Programme would be conducted after every edition of the Games to provide regular rejuvenation of the Games while maintaining continuity and consistency.
The concept of a core group of 25 sports with a maximum of three additional sports was adopted in 2007, and two years later golf and rugby sevens were added to the programme of the Rio 2016 and the 2020 Olympic Games.