Grapplers elated at Wrestling`s shortlisting for final vote

New Delhi: Olympic medallists, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, on Wednesday welcomed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board to keep Wrestling in hunt for a place in the 2020 Olympic Games.

The IOC Executive Board made its decision after receiving presentations from eight sports in St Petersburg, Russia.

Squash, wrestling and baseball/softball were shortlisted by the IOC Executive Board for a final vote in Buenos Aires on September 8.

"I would like to congratulate all the people who have supported wrestling. It`s very good news for the young wrestlers. I am very hopeful that wrestling would be re-inducted into Olympics. Wrestling is a very popular sport and good move by IOC," two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar said.

London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt said that new changes introduced in the game to make it more viewer-friendly went in their favour.

"I am very happy with the development. It`s a massive relief to all the young wrestlers who aspire to represent the country in the 2020 Olympics. We are confident that wrestling will get the final nod from the IOC in their September meeting and we will again become part of the Olympic movement," said Yogeshwar.

The international wrestling-governing body, FILA, at its Extraordinary Congress on May 18, tweaked the format of the bouts and brought in constitutional changes to include women in decision making bodies.

Olympian Geeta Phogat said, "It feels nice to hear that we have cleared the first hurdle. The change in bout rules and constitution has worked for the wrestling. I have three-four wrestlers in my family who are targeting Olympic medals in 2020. All young wrestlers would love to see their game back in Olympics."

Raj Singh, general secretary of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and a former wrestler said, "I knew wrestling would be shortlisted. And I can tell you nobody can stop it from coming back into Olympics. We have made necessary changes in the sport and the IOC liked it. Wrestling is backed by major international powers such as Russia, US and Japan."

Chief wrestling coach Vinod Kumar said the first hurdle has been cleared and it?s time to gear up for the final battle in September.

"It`s a great decision and we are confident that IOC will decide in our favour in their next meeting. Our first aim was to get shortlisted which we did and now the next battle remains to be win in September. It’s an important development keeping in mind the younger generation," he said.