Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has expressed his happiness over the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include wrestling in the 2020 Olympics.
Jitendra Singh had earlier written to the IOC President Jaques Rogge requesting him to keep wrestling in the Olympics. The Sports Ministry had also sought support of other countries to campaign for the sport’s retention in the quadrennial mega event.
After the IOC members voted for wrestling ahead of baseball-softball and squash in Buenos Aires on Sunday, the Minister expressed satisfaction over fact that “all these efforts finally met with success.”
In February, the IOC Executive Board had decided through votes to keep wrestling out of the 25 core sports in the Olympics. In May, only three disciplines, including wrestling, had remained in contention for one additional spot, which was to be clubbed with the 25 core sports.
The International Wrestling Federation (FILA) had made massive administrative and rule changes to increase the appeal of the sport and make it more contemporary, in an attempt to win the vote.
Meanwhile, the World Squash Federation President N. Ramachandran, who had led the squash presentation at the IOC session in Buenos Aires, admitted that he was heart-broken at the decision.
“Today’s decision is heart-breaking for the millions of squash players around the world, particularly given the 10-year journey we have been on to join the Olympic Games Sports Programme,” said Ramachandran.
“As the only new Olympic sport on today’s shortlist, we believed squash offered something for the future, and I still hope that our inclusion may be possible.
“The feedback we have received from many IOC members for our campaign and our presentation has been very positive, and I am encouraged by the vote we received today.
“We have much to offer the Olympic Movement, and I am hopeful that (whatever happened) today is not the end of our Olympic journey,” he added.