The wrestling fraternity of the country expressed shock at the proposal to exclude wrestling from the 2020 Olympics and hoped that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session would eventually retain the sport in the programme.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was optimistic despite hearing the unexpected news. “It is sad news for the country. The outlook towards wrestling has changed following the medals in Olympics. But there is still time and I am hopeful that it will not be taken off the fold of the Olympics,” said Sushil on Tuesday.

London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt was also disappointed with the development. “This is not only sad news for India, but also for all the wrestling-loving countries in the world. This is one of the oldest sports and I hope it will continue to stay in the Olympic Games.

“A sportsperson prepares with a target in mind. If there is no target to take part in the Olympics, how can any wrestler motivate himself? If it happens, the sport will go back by many years,” Yogeshwar said.

Prominent coach Yashvir Singh said if wrestling was excluded from the Olympics it would be demoralising for the youngsters. “Our country has been coming up nicely. But this will be a setback for the up and coming wrestlers.

“Once it goes out of the Olympics, then you never know when it will come back again.”

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary-general Raj Singh said in case wrestling went out of the Olympics, it would hurt India.

“It would be a big loss for the country in such a scenario. Since Japan, Turkey and Spain are in contention to host the 2020 Olympics, I am sure that wrestling will not go out of the Games,” said Raj Singh.

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