Article and Image courtesy of The Telegraph
by Jacquelin Magnay
Despite being one of the most traditional sports of the Olympics, wrestling has been axed to make way for a new sport to be added to the Olympics that will be decided in May.
The International Olympic Committee executive board made the decision this morning in Lausanne, with other sports like taekwondo and modern pentathlon surviving a close vote.
”It is very disappointing, however it’s not a final decision and we would hope to be added back in September,” he said.
”The Olympics is the highest goal our athletes have but if it is cut they can look to the Commonwealth Games.”
The IOC wanted to reduce its ‘core’ sports programme to 25 so that a new sport can be added for the 2020 Olympic programme. Wrestling will still be part of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the change to take effect at the still-to-be-decided host of the 2020 Games.
Sports were rated on 39 different criteria including television ratings and ticket sales from the London 2012 Olympics.
Technically wrestling, which is the national sport of Iran, will join a shortlist of the new sports including softball and baseball, squash, karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and rollersports which will make presentations for Olympic inclusion in St Petersburg in May.
However, a combined baseball-softball proposal or squash is favoured to be promoted to the Olympic programme, rather than a reversal of today’s decision.
The full session of the IOC has to sign off on the changes when it meets in Buenos Aires in September.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the process undertaken by the IOC over the past year has been extremely comprehensive.
“It was up to the executive board members to make a decision, it was not black and white and it was not an easy decision, but we wanted to allow room for the renewal of the Olympic programme,” he said.
The IOC wanted to reduce its ‘core’ sports programme to 25 so that a new sport can be added for the 2020 Olympic programme.
UK Sport decided not to fund British wrestlings top two female wrestlers who are world ranked, Olga Butaevych, who won a bronze in the 2012 world championships just after an 11th placing at the London Olympics and Yana Stednik.
However, Sport England awarded the sport £850,000 over the next four years to build its grass roots support. Currently there is enormous enthusiasm for wrestling at school level, and administrators are concentrating on boosting coaching numbers to deal with the demand.