Japan has been floored by the news wrestling will be thrown out of the Olympics. Tokyo is bidding to host the showpiece games in 2020 but it seems a sport in which the country excels will not be on the programme then. Japan won four gold medals at London 2012.
It has arguably the best women’s wrestlers in the world. The sports governing body, Fila, said in a statement it was astonished by the move and called the decision an aberration. Tomiaki Fukuda the Japan Wrestling Federation President was astonished. “The wrestling venue was full of spectators in the London Olympics. I totally can’t understand why the IOC is considering dropping it,” he said.
It’s believed one of the reasons the sport which first appeared in the ancient Olympics in 708BC lost its status was because of a perceived lack of television appeal and the failure of the sports governing body to recognise that wrestling was under threat.
At a news conference the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said he understood the anger from some quarters.
“We follow the media and I must say that we knew even before the decision was taken that whichever sport would not be included in the core program would lead to criticism. The vote of yesterday is not an elimination of wrestling from the Olympic Games. I want to be very clear on that. First of all, wrestling will participate at the Games of Rio De Janeiro, “ he told reporters.
The changes in the Olympic programme for 2020 have to be signed off when the IOC meets in September.