Olympics: Wrestling, baseball/softball and squash make shortlist for 2020 inclusion

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The IOC executive will vote in September to decide which of these three sports will be added to 2020 Games.

Wrestlers have fought their way back into Olympic contention.

On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee executive board shortlisted wrestling, a combined baseball/softball bid and squash for inclusion in the 2020 Games.

The saga, which started in February when the same IOC committee shocked the sporting world by dropping wrestling from the Olympics, isn’t over yet. There is only one spot available for the 2020 Summer Games and on Sept. 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the full IOC assembly will have to decide which of the three sports gets it.

“We as a community have worked extremely hard in the last four months to be where we are today,” said Don Ryan, vice-president of the FILA Pan-American Council and president of Wrestling Canada.

“Eight sports were on the ballot for this first vote, and we are thrilled to see wrestling as one of the three moving on to the final round. We have not won the battle yet, we must continue as a community to persevere in our efforts,” continued Ryan.

The five sports that were eliminated from contention were karate, inline speed skating, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu (kung fu).

After hearing presentations, the board voted by secret electronic ballot over several rounds. Wrestling won on the first round with eight of the 14 votes.

The combined baseball/softball bid beat karate 9-5 in a head-to-vote to make its way onto the shortlist. Squash earned its spot in the final round, getting eight votes to defeat wushu (4) and sport climbing (2).

In the few months since it was dropped from the Olympics, the international wrestling federation has elected a new president, overhauled its governance structure, changed scoring to reward attacking tactics and altered tournaments to make the sport as spectator friendly as possible in an effort to the get the IOC to give their sport a second chance.

Canadian wrestlers have been taken the lead in much of this. Carol Huynh, 2008 Beijing gold medallist, and Daniel Igali, 2000 Sydney gold medallist, were two of the five-member team who made the case for why wrestling belongs in the Olympics in St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday.

Toronto Star - Kerry Gillespie

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