Washington: In a move that once again raised the hopes of wrestlers all over the world, the sport of wrestling won a reprieve and made the International Olympic Committee (IOC) list for the 2020 Olympics, three months after being dropped from the list.
Along with wrestling, squash and a combined baseball-softball bid also made the cut from a lineup of eight sports vying for a single opening.
The five sports - karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the Chinese martial art of wushu, were eliminated from the contention.
Stating that the list is a good mix of team and individual sports, IOC vice president Thomas Bach said that the IOC executive board will submit wrestling, squash and baseball-softball to the full IOC assembly for a final decision on Sept. 8.
The board voted by secret ballot over several rounds, with wrestling winning on the first round with eight of the 14 votes, baseball-softball beating karate 9-5 in a head-to-vote while squash got through in the final round, getting eight votes to defeat wushu.
The move brought smiles back to the faces of athletes who had thought that their chances to compete in the Olympics were lost forever, even as co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation Riccardo Fraccari expressed his gratitude and said that the decision has motivated them to work even harder on behalf of the athletes.
Meanwhile, actor and former college wrestler William Baldwin said that only the sport of wrestling can bring Russia, the US and Iran together quickly, on the same page, united in one voice with the same goal.
Men`s baseball and women`s softball, which have been off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games, merged into a single federation to improve their chances of getting back in, while squash is bidding for an Olympic spot for a third time.
Wrestling was surprisingly cut from the list of core sports by the IOC board in February, causing an international outcry and prompting the United States, Russia, Iran and other countries to join forces in a bid to bring the sport back .