ANOC Head Reveals Wrestling Support for 2020 Olympics

March 5, 2013

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, head of the Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC), has shown his unwavering support of wrestling to be in the 2020 Olympics by revealing the unanimous support of his executive council.

The ANOC executive met in Sydney on Tuesday, the first gathering since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a surprise recommendation to dump wrestling from its program after the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

ANOC agreed on Olympic Solidarity scholarship measures and also a new constitution during Sydney’s meet, which is expected to be approved when its general assembly meets in Lausanne in June.

Each ANOC assembly is followed by a joint meeting with the IOC executive board, the organ that recommended wrestling be cut.

“(There was) unanimous support for wrestling … and we will meet the IOC to discuss,” IOC member Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told AAP.

“We are very keen to maintain wrestling in the sport program.

“Like everybody we’re surprised wrestling is out of the program … I think there’s surprise not only in this house, but outside. Even in the house of the IOC when the result was announced. Surprise was everywhere.

“We will work very closely with the wrestling IF (international federation) and the NOCs and the continent organisations to give us support for wrestling to maintain its place in the sports program.”

Wrestling’s Olympic fate is set to be decided at an IOC session in September, which will be held in Buenos Aires.

“We respect the mechanism and the resolution of the IOC, but also I have confidence that the session will vote in favour of maintaining wrestling,” Kuwaiti Al-Fahad Al-Sabah added.

ANOC’s support comes after wrestling leaders from political foes Iran and the United States united as part of a coalition of nations aiming to keep the sport in the Olympics.

During a recent World Cup in Tehran, the US team shook hands and posed for photographs with Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The host of the 2020 Olympics – down to a race between Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul – will also be broached at ANOC’s next general assembly.