Exclusive: FILA Fear Forgetting Olympic History will Spell End for Wrestling

February 20, 2013

By Steve Moorhouse

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling (FILA) fears that the continued emphasis on youth for the Olympic Games could see wrestling wiped from the Olympic memory.

Wrestling was controversially axed from the 2020 programme by the IOC, who has previously said that a youth orientated sport would be preferred to help engage younger spectators.

Speaking exclusively to iSportconnect, Vice-President of FILA Europe, Theodoros Hamakos argued that this is a dangerous stance.

Hamakos said: “It is the new generation, people and governments who mobilise and protest on the issue of wrestling. That touches the world and especially the young people as the IOC President has said.

“If we forget the history, I fear that history will forget us.”

Wrestling has been a part of the modern Olympic programme since the very beginning and Hamakos has stressed that FILA strongly dispute the IOC’s decision.

“We believe that the decision of the IOC is completely wrong,” said Hamakos. “Wrestling is one of the oldest sports along with athletics and boxing with a history of over 3000 years.

“The decision for us was a big surprise. We never expected this. We wanted respect for the history and contributions of wrestling, but like wrestling teaches us, we wrestle and hope.”

One sport that hopes to take wrestling’s place at the 2020 Olympics is wakeboarding.

Kuno Ritschard, President of International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) previously told iSportconnect: “ I hope that all the IOC members remember what the IOC President said at the IOC Session in Guatemala before the decision was made to change the format of the Summer Games to 25 core sports: ‘We must now adapt to meet the taste of today’s young generation. For our Movement, and all that it stands for, to remain relevant into the next decade and beyond, we must find ways to keep the appeal of our event, to engender the interest of young people in the thrill of sport.’

“At this stage, with the IOC President’s clear directive in mind,  if the IOC Session in Buenos Aires really wants to achieve the objective of the Session in Guatemala then they have to vote for a new sport and not put Wrestling back in the Games.”

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