Putin hopes IOC restores wrestling in Olympics
St. Petersburg: Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hopes wrestling will be reinstated as an Olympic sport based on “just” and “well-reasoned” decision-making.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) cut the sport from the 2020 Games in February, galvanising global backlash and prompting an unlikely advocacy partnership between wrestling governing bodies in Russia, Iran and the United States.
That, along with the world governing body FILA’s pledge to introduce rule changes aimed at making the sport more viewer-friendly, contributed to the wrestling’s placement on an IOC shortlist for the last competition spot in 2020. Squash and a joint baseball and softball bid are the other finalists.
“I know that the final decision will be made later. I hope that the decision will be just, well-reasoned and will serve to consolidate and develop the Olympic movement, which has always rested on its ancient traditions,” Putin said after a meeting with IOC officials here.
Putin has been a strong opponent of the IOC’s decision to eliminate wrestling from the Games following the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics since it was announced in February. The IOC will make a final ruling in September in Buenos Aires.