Wrestling, one of the first Olympic sports dating back dating back to the times of the ancient Greeks, will likely be removed from future Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee voted to remove it from the sporting schedule.
The IOC board, consisting of 15 executives, voted for the removal of wrestling as soon as 2020 as seven other sporting disciplines vie for Games inclusion.
The decision to remove wrestling came as a shock to the IOC board- they expected a couple of other sports, including modern pentathlon, to instead get the chop for the 2020 Olympics to be held in either Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid.
“Wrestling was not on the radar,” the source told The Australian. “It was a very close vote between wrestling and modern pentathlon, maybe one or two votes separating them.
“The trouble was while modern pentathlon and taekwondo did effective lobbying, wrestling thought they were safe and did none at all.”
The sport, which has existed since the 708 B.C. Olympic Games, was being considered for subtraction due to the already excessive number of athletes participating at the Games, which is roughly 10,500 athletes, and the IOC seeking to attract a younger audience, a puzzling directive considering the sport has seen a resurgence in the past decade.
Russia is among a host of nations already pretty upset with the decision. Sports minister Vitaly Mutko wass up in arms about the IOC decision.
“FILA (the international wrestling governing body) will take all necessary steps to convince the executive committee and members of the IOC of this aberration of a decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games,” it said on fila-official.com.
“FILA has always complied with IOC rules, is present in 180 countries where wrestling is a national sport for many, offering athletes their only chance of competing at the Olympics and contributing to the Games' universality.”
Wrestling will remain on board for Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and has only once not featured at an Olympics- the 1900 Games, however the sport will have one final chance to re-enter the games: It must compete with the likes of squash, roller sports, softball/baseball, karate, the martial art wushu, wakeboarding and sport climbing to be decided in meetings by the IOC between May and September.