New Delhi: Shocked by the International Olympic Committee's decision to take wrestling off the 2020 Olympic roster, the Sports Ministry Wednesday said it would ask the IOC to reconsider the move as it would "demoralise" the grapplers and deeply affect the "sustenance" of the game.
"Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will take up the issue with other nations where wrestling is a popular sport. The Ministry will take up the issue with IOC to reconsider its decision and retain wrestling in the category of core sports in Olympic Games," the Ministry said in a statement.
"Ministry is hopeful that with these steps, IOC Executive Board meeting at St. Petersburg in Russia in May and the 12th IOC Session at Buenos Aires, Argentina will decide to retain Wrestling in core Olympic Games," it added. The IOC Executive Board, in its meeting held yesterday, decided on the 25 sports it will propose for approval as the core sports for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in the 125th IOC Session to be held in September in Argentina.
Wrestling was not included in the 25 core sports despite the fact that it goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 and had always been a core sport. "This ancient sport has helped the Indian grapplers to make a mark and bring India on the global sporting map. India has won four medals at the Olympic Games in wrestling, viz., bronze medal by KD Jadhav at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, bronze Medal by Shri Sushil Kumar at the Beijing Olympics 2008, silver medal by Shri Sushil Kumar at the London Olympics 2012 and bronze medal by Shri Yogeshwar Dutt at the London Olympics 2012," it said.
The ministry said wrestling is a popular sport not only in India but also in many other countries such as Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Japan and China. "The exclusion of the discipline from the Olympics will demoralise the sports persons and will deeply affect the sustenance of the game in the future," the Ministry said. "The decision of the Executive Board of IOC is most unfortunate and shocking to all the sports loving people in India. "Keeping in view the vast popularity and mass participation in wrestling, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt. of India has decided to discuss the matter with the Wrestling Federation of India and prominent Wrestlers of the country," it added.