New Delhi: The campaign for wrestling`s re-inclusion in the Olympics received a big boost with the influential Association of National Olympic Committees backing the move for the sport being retained in the Games.
The Executive Committee of the ANOC in its meeting in Sydney on March 5 passed a resolution, backing the re-inclusion of wrestling in Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee last month controversially dropped the sport from 2020 Games onwards.
IOC member in India and Vice-President of ANOC for Asia, Randhir Singh, who attended the Executive Council Meeting, told PTI that all the members were in favour of re-inclusion of wrestling in the Olympics.
"The ANOC Executive Council were in full support of re-inclusion of wrestling. It is a sport which means a lot to me. My family has close links with wrestling and I fully support its re-inclusion in the Olympic Games," Randhir said.
"It`s a sport which has brought medals for India and its inclusion would be in the interest of the country. The Sports Minister has also written to the IOC in support of wrestling`s inclusion. So I feel the sport will come back in the Olympics," he said.
The 27-member ANOC Executive Council is headed by Olympic Council of Asia chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait.
The Executive Board of the IOC last month dropped wrestling as a sport from 2020 Games onwards. However, it could still feature in 2020 Olympics should the IOC include it as an additional sport when its General Assembly meets in Buenos Aires in September.
Wrestling will compete with baseball/softball, roller sports, rock climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu for one sport slot, with each presenting their case for inclusion to the Executive Board in May.
Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh thanked Randhir for his initiative to bring back the sport in the Olympics.
"We were disappointed at wrestling being dropped from the 2020 Games onwards. But we are still hoping that the sport will come back and we are making our best effort to for its re-inclusion. I thank Randhir for his initiative in this regard," Sharan said.
"Wrestling is a sport which has brought India medals in the Olympic Games. We are hoping for wresting to grow and more medals coming in future Olympics also," he said.
After K D Jadhav won the first medal -- a bronze -- for India in 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Sushil Kumar grabbed a bronze in 2008 Games in Beijing and a silver in 2012 London Games. Yogeshwar Dutt also won a bronze in London.