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Politics drops Olympic wrestling: Aust
Steve Larkin
16:58 AEST Wed Feb 13 2013

Politics is behind moves to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games, the sport's Australian chief says.

Wrestling Australia president Kuldip Bassi says he's stunned at the decision by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board.

"We do have political things behind it and some people have more political influence than others," Bassi told AAP on Wednesday.

The 15 members of the IOC's executive board have voted to remove wrestling, a sport dating back to the ancient Olympics, from the program for the 2020 Games.

"The people in charge of the Olympics maybe don't understand the sport or they are politically motivated by some other group," Bassi said.

"It is very well to bring some other sport in.

"But an original sport, a core sport, they should not be touching it at all ... if you start losing your tradition, then what is left of it?"

The IOC board will ask all its members to ratify its decision later this year.

In the meantime, Wrestling Australia would "do whatever we can" to help reverse the decision, including lobbying the Australian Olympic Committee for support, Bassi said.

AOC president John Coates said wrestling would now be considered, with seven other sports, on the Olympic's rotation list.

The other sports were squash, roller sports, softball/baseball, karate, the martial art wushu, the water sport wakeboard and sport climbing.

"The full membership of the IOC had instructed the executive board that they wanted a change and one sport was always going to be disappointed," Coates said.

Modern pentathlon, not wrestling, was expected to be the one sport removed from the list of 25 core sports for the 2020 Games to be held in Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid.

But Bassi said wrestling suffered because the sport's hierarchy worldwide didn't realise its Olympics future was in question, and failed to lobby the IOC, unlike modern pentathlon officials.

A decision on which sport makes the cut will be taken at an IOC meeting in May, before recommendations are put to all members of the IOC in September.


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