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IOC springs surprise, drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics

Lausanne, February 12
International Olympic Committee has dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program.

The decision has left the Indian wrestling fraternity in shock with London medal winners fearing that it could halt the rising profile of the game in the country. The IOC executive board decided today to retain modern pentathlon the event considered most at risk and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.

Pentathlon in

The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon the event considered most at risk and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports

The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic programme

Eliminating one sport allows the IOC to add a new sport to the programme later this year

Last chance

Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020

The IOC executive board will meet in May to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September

The decision, announced by the IOC, was first reported by The Associated Press. The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the IOC to add a new sport. Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.

Wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year's London Olympics. Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020. The IOC executive board will meet in May in Russia to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September.

"I don't see any reason why IOC decided to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic programme.

I am still finding it difficult to come to terms with the news," Sushil Kumar, who won a silver in London Olympics in 66 kg freestyle event, said. "In my view, the IOC would find it difficult to remove it from the list given the sport's huge popularity across the globe. It's an old sport and famous worldwide," said Sushil who created history by becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back Olympic medals. London Olympics bronze medallist, Yogeshwar Dutt said the decision would be a "big setback" for the upcoming crop of wrestlers. PTI

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