New Delhi: Wrestling fans are in for some anxious hours on Wednesday evening when the ancient Olympic sport fights with six other for one remaining spot in the 2020 Games during presentations made before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in St. Petersburg, Moscow.
In February, the IOC voted to drop wrestling after the 2016 Rio Games - even though the participation of the sport dates back to the ancient Olympics in 708 B.C. Expectedly, wrestling fans and players joined hands to push for a reversal of IOC's decisions, but their hopes hang in balance, as do of squash, wushu, rock climbing, wakeboarding, karate, roller sports and baseball-softball.
At the end of the the IOC meeting, which coincides with the annual convention of SportAccord, its Executive Board will recommend to committee's General Assembly on which of the eight sports should make it to 2020 Olympics. However, a final decision on the recommendation will be taken by the IOC in September.
A representative image of the Olympic sport of wrestling. (Reuters)
The criticism against wrestling is that the sport has failed to modernise, has complex rules and allows little room for participation by women. However, Bill Scherr, the 1988 bronze medallist wrestler from the US and chairman of the Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling, told The New York Times that the sport's apex body has taken steps to modernise the game.
He informed the US daily that a strategic review was done by a consulting firm, following which the rules have been simplified and a commission formed to facilitate participation of women.
Wrestling fans and players across the world will know by around 10 p.m. IST on Wednesday whether or not those efforts have managed to impress the IOC.