The Sports Ministry has requested the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to retain wrestling in the category of core sports in the 2020 Olympic Games, at the IOC’s upcoming 125th session at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In a letter written to all the IOC members, Sports Secretary P K Deb has said that wrestling, which combines Freestyle (men and women) and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics held in Athens in 1886 and has been a core sport from the first Olympics onwards.
“In modern times, wrestling has immense popularity and world-wide fan following. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that 71 countries participated in wrestling events in the London Olympic 2012, to full houses. The decision of the Executive Board of IOC not to include wrestling in the core sports for 2020 Olympics will severely affect the sustenance of the game in future,” Mr. Deb added.
The letter also said the Government of India believed that the decision to exclude wrestling needed to be reconsidered particularly in view of the fact that the game not only had universal appeal, but was also very affordable.
The letter has been written in the context of the decision of the IOC Executive Board— at its meeting held on February 12, 2013 — recommending that wrestling governed by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling be excluded from the list of core sports for the 2020 Olympics.
The Executive Board of IOC at its meeting held at St. Petersburg (Russia) on 20th May 2013 recommended that baseball/softball, squash and wrestling be proposed, in the 125th session of IOC, for possible inclusion as an additional sport in the Olympic Programme for 2020 Olympic Games.
The full IOC membership will meet in Buenos Aires from September 7 to 10 and will vote on which of the three sports to add to the programme of the 2020 Olympics.