Skip to main content

Wrestling reinstated to Olympic program for 2020 Games in Tokyo

September 8, 2013 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
Members of the wrestling delegation celebrate the IOC decision in Buenos Aires to reinstate the sport to the 2020 Olympic program.
Members of the wrestling delegation celebrate the IOC decision in Buenos Aires to reinstate the sport to the 2020 Olympic program.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wrestling back on Olympic program for 2020 Games in Tokyo
  • Beats off challenge of Baseball/Softball and Squash
  • Wins on first round of voting by 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires
  • Sport had been dogged by allegations of corruption and poor governance

(CNN) -- Wrestling has been reinstated to the program for the 2020 Games in Tokyo after a vote Sunday by members of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires.

Wrestling won on the first round of voting by gaining 49 of the 95 votes cast.

It was competing with the joint bid of baseball/softball and squash to win the final spot on the roster of sports for 2020, as the Summer Games returns to Asia after the Beijing Games of 2008.

Baseball/softball claimed 24 votes and squash received 22.

The result means wrestling, a sport which dates back to the ancient Olympics over 3,000 years ago, is assured of taking its place in both Tokyo in 2020 and the 2024 Summer Olympics.

This crisis gave us the strength to change and we finally found we can change
Nenad Lalovic

In February, wrestling, which has appeared in all the modern Games dating back to Athens in 1896, was cut from the 2020 program after the IOC executive board made an assessment of the performance of all 26 sports in the 2012 London Olympics.

Read: Tokyo beats off challenge of Istanbul and Madrid

But in May, with its world governing body FILA (International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles), under the new leadership of Serbian Nenad Lalovic, wrestling was given the chance to compete with baseball/softball and squash to extend its inclusion past the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Lalovic told IOC members as he made his presentation Sunday: "Today is the most important day in the 3,000-year history of our sport."

Later, he reflected on the reasons why wresting had preserved its place on the program when all had appeared lost.

"This crisis gave us the strength to change and we finally found we can change," he told reporters.

Read: Wrestling chief steps down after IOC decision

"Wrestling has become a modernized sport ready to compete with other sports.

"We have updated it to make it more spectacular and more watchable and the rules understandable," Lalovic added.

Questioned about allegations of corruption, which have also dogged wrestling, Lalovic pointed to changes in FILA's governance structure.

"There is no real evidence of it, but there is always suspicions, the only way to tackle this is by a modern and democratic constitution."

The baseball/softball bid had in its presentation team Antonio Castro, the son of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, but failed to win back its status after being voted off the Games program starting with the 2012 Games in London.

Read: Squash star Nicol dreams of Olympic inclusion

Squash has long fought for Olympic status and Narayana Ramachandaran, president of its world federation, described the decision as "heartbreaking" after a 10-year long campaign.

Earlier Sunday, the IOC voted to retain the 25 sports already on its program.

Golf and Rugby Sevens had already been added to the 2016 and 2020 Games after an earlier vote in 2009.

Wrestling's reinstatement will take the total number of sports being contested to 28 in 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
Click through our gallery of the most dramatic moments from the world of sport.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0404 GMT (1204 HKT)
At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
ADVERTISEMENT