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India welcomes re-inclusion of Wrestling in Olympic Games

India has expressed happiness over the re-inclusion of Wrestling in the List of Games in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

IOC at its 125th session held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 8th September 2013 decided to include wrestling in the 2020 Olympics in addition to the 25 core sports. Wrestling, squash and baseball/softball were in contention for being included as an additional sport in the 2020 Olympics. The decision to include wrestling was decided by voting.
Executive Board (EB) of the IOC at its meeting held on 12th February 2013 had recommended that wrestling governed by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling (FILA), be not included in the list of core sports for the 2020 Olympics. The Executive Board of IOC at its meeting held at St. Petersburg (Russia) on 20th May 2013 recommended that baseball / softball, squash and wrestling be proposed to the 125th session of IOC for possible inclusion as an additional sport in the Olympic Programme for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Decision of EB of IOC taken on 12th February 2013 recommending exclusion of wrestling from the list of core sports had come as a shock. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports took the lead in taking up the matter with IOC and the countries where wrestling is popular to ensure that wrestling is retained in the Olympic Games.

Shri Jitendra Singh, MOS (I/C) Youth Affairs & Sports had written to Mr. Jacques Rogge, President, IOC requesting him to reconsider the decision of EB of IOC and retain wrestling among the core sports in the Olympic Games. The Minister had also written to the Sports Ministers of other countries, where wrestling is popular and wrestlers from which participated in wrestling events in the London Olympics 2012, seeking their support in the Government of India’s efforts to convince IOC, and requesting them to take up the matter with IOC for reconsideration of its decision and retaining wrestling in the core sports for the Olympic Games.

Secretary (Sports) had also written to the Foreign Secretary, seeking the support of the Ministry of External Affairs and direction to our Ambassadors and High Commissioners in 70 countries to call upon the respective Sports Ministers and convince them to take up the matter with the IOC in right earnest. The Ministry wrote on 2nd September 2013 to all members of IOC requesting them to take a decision to retain Wrestling in the category of core sports in the Olympic Games.

With IOC deciding to include wrestling as additional sport for the 2020 Olympics, these efforts have met with success. Wrestling, which combines Freestyle (Men & Women) and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics held in Athens in 1886 and has been a core sport from the first Olympics onwards. It was a part of the ancient Olympics too. In modern times, wrestling has immense popularity and fan following world-wide. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that 71 countries participated in wrestling events in the London Olympic 2012, to full houses.

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