Narendra Modi jumps to oppose wrestling exclusion from Olympics

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday opposed the IOC`s move to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic programme.

Updated: Feb 13, 2013, 23:39 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday opposed the IOC`s move to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic programme and appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and ensure that the sport is not excluded from the quadrennial event.

He requested the Centre to form a group of nations and raise the voice collectively against the International Olympic Committee`s proposed move before a final decision on the issue is taken in September.

"The Prime Minister, Government of India (GoI) should not wait for a final decision in September 2013. Let us take the initiative, take people associated with wrestling and oppose the move," Modi said at the concluding ceremony of `Khel Mahakumbh`, an annual mega sports event of the state, here.

"We should form a union and present our case with strength and ensure wrestling is not dropped from Olympics."

Modi said wrestling has been at the Games since 1890s and Asian countries have excelled in the sport.

"To call wrestling not modern is an insult. It is a traditional sport. Asian nations, people must come forward to ensure wrestling remains part of Olympics," Modi tweeted.

The chief minister said to oppose a sport like wrestling in the name of modernity is an insult to a discipline, which has been a part of our society since the Mahabharata days.

"There must be no `games` (politics) in sports!. For any sports lover this is not a good news. Wrestling is amongst the oldest sports," Modi said.

Over 25 lakh athletes, including 92,000 differently- abled sportspersons, participated in various events in the nearly month-long `Khel Mahakumbh`, an initiative of the Gujarat Government, which was organised at district level.

The concluding ceremony was held in Ahmedabad.
Modi congratulated the participants and said 72 new records were set at this year`s sporting extravaganza.

"The number of records show sports have been accepted in society and they have become a part of our lives."

Prizes worth Rs 32 crore were given away during the Khel Mahakumbh, which saw participation from over eight lakh women athletes, he said.

Modi felicitated Maya Devipujak, a differently-abled athlete who did Gujarat proud by winning a gold medal at a floor hockey tournament in South Korea recently.

Participation by 92,000 differently-abled athletes in the mega event should be acknowledged globally, he said.