After announcing on Tuesday, February 12, that wrestling will be dropped from the 2020 Olympics list of “core sports”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been receiving violent reactions from federations, athletes and fans of the sport. None more so than Japan Wrestling Federation President Tomiaki Fukuda, who was suspicious because the body failed to give “clear reasons” why it voted to remove the sport. “We have been in the Olympics from the start, so there was always the feeling of reassurance that it was a key sport.”
Tokyo and its competitor in the bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Istanbul, have united in the call for the IOC to reconsider its decision. Hamza Yerlikaya, president of the Turkish wrestling federation, referred to the decision as “unfair” and a “mistake.” Yerlikaya is a double Olympic gold medalist himself; he is also a three-time world champion and eight-time European champion in Greco-Roman wrestling. Russia and Iran, both multiple medalists of the sport, have also expressed their hope that the IOC would overturn this decision.
Jacques Rogge, IOC president, said yesterday that the vote, made by secret ballot, was fair, but he said he understood the anger from those involved in the sport. He said that a meeting with the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), who swore that it will fight the decision, is already being planned to discuss the matter. Meanwhile, the IOC executive board is set to meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to finalize the proposal of the sports to be included in 2020. The final vote is to be made at the IOC general assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September.