International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has defended the process behind the decision to drop wrestling from the list of core sports at the 2020 Olympic Games...
The sport - which has been part of the modern Olympic movement since 1896 - will now be considered alongside baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and the Chinese martial art of wushu for the one available spot on the 2020 programme.
Rogge was speaking at the conclusion of the IOC's 15-member executive board meeting in Lausanne but he insisted wrestling's Olympic future was not necessarily decided.
The final decision won’t be made until the IOC’s annual session in September in Buenos Aires, where the members also will choose the 2020 hosts from candidates cities Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo.
The IOC's executive board will vote to propose a sport to join the confirmed 2020 programme when they meet in St. Petersburg this May but that decision must still be ratified by the full membership four months later.
"We are aware of the reaction and we knew before this decision was taken that there would be criticism from the followers of the sport that was not included in the core programme," said Rogge, who didn't cast a vote in the executive board meeting.
"I respect the majority decision of my colleagues. I cannot speculate on the future but this has been a fair process. Wrestling now has a chance to compete with seven other sports for a slot at the 2020 Games.
"The vote is not an elimination from the Olympic Games. Wrestling will be part of the Games in Rio, so I say to athletes, continue training towards that event and remember your federation is working for the sport's inclusion in 2020."
Some wrestling supporters claim their sport was disadvantaged because they had no representation on the 15-strong executive board, while other at risk sports, notably modern pentathlon and taekwondo, did.
"The rules of conflict of interest are clearly defined and they do not apply to sports organisations," added Rogge.
"We want quality for our decisions and this is provided by people with participation in sport."
© Sportsbeat 2013