Bulgarian wrestling coach and two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazaryan has started a hunger strike to protest the sport being dumped from the 2020 Olympics, the country’s wrestling federation said Sunday.
“The two-time Olympic champion will not eat until the start of the European Champ­ionship on March 22 in Tbilisi, Georgia ... and will only take juices,” a statement said.
“Wrestling has always been on the Olympics programme and it is not right to take it out. I sincerely hope that my action will convince the IOC to review its decision,” Nazaryan said in the statement. The IOC executive panel decided last month to exclude wrestling from the 2020 Games programme.
Nazaryan, 38, was an Olympic champion for Armenia in the Greco-Roman style at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and also won gold and bronze for Bulgaria at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Athens Games.
He is currently chief coach of Bulgaria’s Greco-Roman team.