New Delhi, Feb 12: The country's champion grapplers have expressed their dismay over the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games. Reacting to the development, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt who were among the six Indian medallists at the 2012 London Olympics described it as a huge disappointment for everybody associated with the sport.
Pointing out that wrestlers across the world train hard hoping to get an Olympic medal, Sushil said that they will all be feeling rather disheartened now. His disappointment is understandable. The 29-year-old won a bronze medal in 66kg men's freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Games and went one better four years later by bagging the silver medal.
According to reports, IOC officials today decided at their meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne to scrap wrestling and instead retain modern pentathlon in the committee's list of 26 core sports. Only if one sport is removed from the list can another be included in its place. Pentathlon thus clearly gained at the expense of wrestling. This is not the first time a particular sport has been removed from the list. Baseball and softball were together scrapped in 2005.
However, wrestlers need not despair too much. Later this year, their favourite sport will still get an opportunity to apply for the 2020 Olympics. The only catch is that wrestling is set to face stiff competition from karate, wushu, wakeboarding, squash, sport climbing, roller sports besides a combined bid from softball and baseball.
Whichever of the abovementioned sports makes the best presentation before the IOC, that one has the best chance of being included in the Games to be hosted seven years from now. In May, the IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg, Russia. However, the proposal put forth by members of the board has to be ratified by the IOC general assembly in Sep.
Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling events have been part of every Olympics ever since the 1896 Athens Games. Last year, as many as 344 grapplers turned up at London to compete in seven medal events in Greco-Roman and 11 events in the freestyle category.