IOC pushes wrestling out of Olympics
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In a surprise decision, the International Olympic Committee Tuesday dropped wrestling from the list of core sports, a move that could lead to its elimination after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
A final decision on eliminating the sport, which has been a part of every games since 1896 barring one, will be taken in September.
Wrestling's exclusion comes as a shock as modern pentathlon was the favourite to get the axe. The decision to drop wrestling was taken by the IOC Executive Board by a secret ballot over a number of rounds in Lausanne, Switzerland. In the final round, hockey was left with wrestling and modern pentathlon.
The board voted after reviewing a IOC programme commission report that analysed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy, global participation and popularity. The decision was also subject to political and sentimental factors.
"The decision was rather to determine the 25 sports in the programme for 2020 games rather than 'drop wrestling'. The EB members had a report based on 39 criteria and 74 questions for each sport - but then it was a decision for each member how each sport fitted into a future core programme," IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said.
However, Adams added there is still hope for wrestling to return as a final decision will be taken in September. India has won four Olympic wrestling medals, including two at last year's London games.