The Japan Wrestling Foundation launched an online petition to gather 100,000 signatures to convince the International Olympic Committee to keep wrestling in the 2020 Olympics roster of sports. The IOC executive board announced earlier this month that wrestling will be dropped and it will have to fight it out with seven other sports for one vacant spot for the 2020 Olympics.
The federation plans to submit the signatures they will be able to gather from the “Save Olympics Wrestling” site they put up to the IOC executive board before their meeting in May, which will see them decide on which sport to retain for 2020. On the site, the JWF said they were deeply disappointed that wrestling was dropped, particularly since Japan does well in the sport, winning four gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics. Other countries that do well in wrestling, like India and Bulgaria, are also doing their own bids to rally support for the beleaguered sport. Bulgarian wrestling federation president Valentin Yordanov protested the IOC’s decision by sending back the gold medal he won from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Wrestling is one of the sports that has been there since the foundation of the modern summer Olympic games in Athens in 1896. The recommendation to drop it has been blamed on lack of political support within the IOC executive board. Less than a week after the recommendation was announced, wrestling’s world governing body (FILA) president Raphael Martinetti resigned. Another reason given is that the sport fails to draw in crowds during the Olympics.
[ via Reuters ]