Putin wants wrestling back in Olympics
Moscow, March 14 (IANS): Breaking his silence for the first time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that elimination of wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games would be unjustified.
“This is unjust to eliminate the traditional sport from the Olympic program which used to be there even in ancient Greece,” Putin was quoted as saying by Xinhua Wednesday.
Putin was talking to the representatives of the International and Russian Sambo Federations.
Sambo, or a universal martial art, is a type of wrestling invented in the Soviet Union in 1950s, which later won recognition in many countries and regions.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it would not recommend to include wrestling into the programme of the Olympic Games in 2020, February 11. The final decision will be made in September at the 125th IOC session in Argentina.
Putin said the move to withdraw wrestling from the Olympics should be discussed with the IOC.
He also proposed to include sambo into the Games’ program.
“This would be just,” he told the representatives of sambo federations from Britain, Maroc, Bulgaria, Italy, Belarus who have taken part in the meeting.
Alexander Zhukov, head of the Russian Olympic Committee, has also urged the athletes to undertake mass action to demonstrate how popular that sport is prior to a meeting of the IOC Executive Committee due in St. Petersburg in May.