Wrestling’s governing body is preparing for what could be the match of its, life.
It is holding a special meeting in Moscow to discuss changes to modernize the sport in hopes of staying in the, Olympics.
The meeting Saturday comes four months after the, IOC, executive board recommended that wrestling be dropped from the 2020 Olympics. Wrestling has a chance to regain its place by beating out seven other sports vying for one available, spot.
All those sports are to make their case to the IOC at a meeting this month in St. Petersburg. The other candidates are sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding, karate, wushu, roller sports and a combined baseball-softball bid. The IOC will make a final decision in, September.
The meeting is expected to consider an array of changes ” from giving women more say in the organization and more chances to compete, to rule adjustments and possibly even to clothing, changes.
The IOC’s recommendation to drop wrestling put the federation, known by the acronym FILA, on a crisis footing, forcing the resignation of President, Raphael Martinetti, days, later.
Nenad Lalovic, appointed acting president, is expected to be confirmed as full-time president Saturday. Martinetti sued in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, opposing Lalovic’s appointment and the special meeting. The court rejected both, moves.
Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since antiquity, prominently portrayed on ancient Greek pottery, but critics suggested the sport rested far too much on its, history.
Russian IOC member, Vitaly Smirnov, said the Olympics want to prune sports that “don’t meet modern standards that are losing their popularity, their TV, viewers.”
“The leaders of the federation didn’t listen to the recommendations made by the IOC, “he said this, week.
Holding the FILA congress in Moscow reflects the sensitivity and importance of the issue. Russia is one of the sport’s traditional powers, with Russian and Soviet wrestlers having won 77 gold medals in the modern, Olympics.
“There’s a real desire in the army of millions of lovers of wrestling to keep it in the family of Olympic sports, “said, Mikhail Mamiashvili, head of the Russian wrestling, federation.
FILA aims to “really change the face of wrestling, “he said. “We are trying to do everything so that our sport will get a completely new, image.”
Among the measures expected to come up is the elimination of the ball draw that chooses who takes the offensive position in a tie-breaker and the leg clinch that tended to give the offensive wrestler an advantage in the tie-breaker.
A speculated change would call for Greco-Roman competitors to wrestle with bare torsos and for freestylers to not only abandon the traditional singlet in favor of T-shirts and shorts, but to be allowed wider use of colors beyond the conventional red and, blue.
Although some of the changes would be intended to make the sport more visually appealing and comprehensible to spectators, administrative changes are on the agenda as, well.
FILA spokesman, Bob Condron, said the congress is likely to consider adding a woman’s vice presidential position in the federation. Women also are likely to become more prominent in competition. The rules committee is set to propose adding two women’s weight classes and eliminating one class each in men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman.