Reaction to IOC decision to drop wrestling

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:57am IST

Japan's Saori Yoshida (in blue) fights with Canada's Tonya Lynn Verbeek on the final of the Women's 55Kg Freestyle wrestling at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files

Japan's Saori Yoshida (in blue) fights with Canada's Tonya Lynn Verbeek on the final of the Women's 55Kg Freestyle wrestling at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj/Files

(Reuters) - Reaction to Tuesday's decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recommend that wrestling is dropped as an Olympic sport from the 2020 Games.

United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun:

"It is important to remember that today's action is a recommendation, and we hope that there will be a meaningful opportunity to discuss the important role that wrestling plays in the sports landscape both in the United States and around the world. In the meantime, we will fully support USA Wrestling and its athletes."

Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist Cael Sanderson:

"Wrestling and the Olympics go hand-in-hand. When you start taking the original sports away from the Olympics, you really change what the Olympic Games are... What are you going to do next, change the name of the Olympics?"

Russia's 2012 Olympic champion Natalia Vorobyeva:

"I can't imagine what they (IOC) were thinking with. They weren't using their heads, that's for sure. They want to exclude our favourite sport? Then, we have nothing else but revolt."

Three-times Olympic wrestling gold medallist Saori Yoshida Of Japan:

"I cannot believe it," she told local media. "This is nothing but shocking and frustrating. A lot of youngsters, too, are aiming to compete in the Olympics, and they must be wondering what they should do from this point on."

President of the Russian wrestling federation Mikhail Mamiashvili, three-times a world champion and 1988 Olympic Greco-Roman gold medallist:

"I was absolutely convinced this ancient sport would retain its status. But FILA (the world amateur wrestling federation), the whole wrestling community must take a more active role in the process. We need to make some drastic changes in the sport, make it more attractive, especially for TV audiences."

Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director:

"We look forward to telling the story about wrestling to the International Committee leadership and the entire world about our great sport and why it should be part of the Olympic movement forever."

Japanese Olympic Committee chairman Tsunekazu Takeda:

"I find it a little hard to believe," he told local media. "There was absolutely no hint of this. I'm stunned."

Don Ryan, President, Wrestling Canada:

"We have a strong International Federation (FILA) and we will work closely with them as called upon to lobby and appeal to the IOC Members to reverse this decision that has yet to be ratified by the IOC."

Satpal Singh, coach of India's twice Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar:

"It is very unfortunate," he told Reuters. "It is being played from the first Olympics and is played all over the world."

Bulgarian wrestling federation general secretary Valentin Savov:

"We are shocked, of course, this is a sport that was part of the very first Olympics," he told reporters. "We have no explanation. We're totally surprised because we even discussed (during the London Olympics) to increase the number of weight categories in women's wrestling."

Russia's Buvaisar Saitiev, one of only three male wrestlers to have won three Olympic titles:

"I can't even imagine that they would do something like this. Wrestling has been contested since the first Olympic Games and it remains one of the most popular sports worldwide. Such decision would go against the very nature of sport, where you battle one-on-one, man against man. This is pure sport."

Rich Santoli, Northeast representative for USA Wrestling junior programs and head of New Jersey Wrestling:

"This could be the death of USA Wrestling," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "Why would we pay into USA Wrestling? If we aren't going to the Olympics why are we doing it anymore?"

Boston University senior lecturer Frank Shorr:

"I wonder how much of this is profit orientated -- ticket sales versus operating costs. After all, the IOC get much more exposure from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy taking part in the Games than any wrestler or field hockey player. Perhaps they need to embrace the WWE marketing strategy." (Compiled by Tom Pilcher, editing by Ed Osmond)

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