Wrestling poised for return at 2020 Games: sources

Kyodo

Wrestling, which was dropped from the Olympics list of core sports in February, is all but guaranteed to regain its spot in the 2020 Summer Games, IOC sources said Saturday.

Wrestling is competing against a combined baseball-softball bid and squash but is certain to win the final berth, according to HRH Tunku Imran of Malaysia, president of the World Squash Federation and an IOC member.

Imran said wrestling was the odds-on favorite, admitting it would be very difficult for squash to be included.

An additional Olympic sport will be added to the 2020 program in the IOC’s vote on Sunday.

International Baseball Federation sources, meanwhile, said it hoped its combined bid would get “about 30 votes” from about 100 International Olympic Committee members.

The baseball sources said that would pave the way for a return to the Olympic program in the future, but this time wrestling was in a strong position.

On Friday wrestling’s governing body confirmed it had been reprimanded for a rules violation in its lobbying to regain its spot on the Olympic program.

“It was a problem with one letter that was sent from the Japanese wrestling federation to all national wrestling federations in order to try to help and influence the IOC members from their countries. But this doesn’t fit with the rules of the conduct,” FILA President Nenad Lalovic said at a news conference.

Yet the reprimand appears to have made little difference.

The IOC’s executive board in May voted to shortlist wrestling for possible inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.

The shortlist trimmed eight contending sports down to three. The board rejected bids from karate, roller sports, wakeboarding, sport climbing and wushu.