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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Other Sport

At this rate, no sport will be safe
Manisha Malhotra
February 14, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(14/2/2013)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(14/2/2013)

If a sport, which has been part of the Olympics since inception and fits every single qualifying criterion by a country mile, can be thrown out, then really what is safe?

There is no denying that the decision to take wrestling off the Olympics from 2020 is appalling but how do we proceed from here?

While there are thousands of theories - from it being a racist decision to wrestling not lobbying enough - which are being thrown around, the truth is that no one knows. Why?

Well, the IOC is not willing to tell anyone, that's why. They have managed to reveal what it would take to be considered for the Games but have managed to leave out what it would take to stay.

But then, all is not lost. Wrestling still has a chance to get back, albeit with some lobbying this time around.

There really isn't much comparison in the participation and popularity of wrestling v wushu, wakeboarding, squash, sport climbing and whatever else they have shortlisted.

Of the countries shortlisted for the Olympics after 2016, Japan and Turkey have huge interest in wrestling so, maybe if one of these two gets the Games there still might be a bigger push.

The criteria to drop a sport should also be thoroughly examined. It is important to see the heritage and state of sport. For example, a gymnast or wrestler or athlete and many more work their whole lives just for the chance to compete, not win a medal at the Games.

And then there are sports such as tennis, basketball, football, golf and rugby where major championships and leagues are more important than the Olympics.

Ask a young tennis player what he is aspiring for and each and everyone will probably say "win Wimbledon" or one of the other Grand Slams.

The elation of winning an NBA championship is more than an Olympic gold for a basketball player. Footballers would rather win the World Cup, golfers dream about winning at Augusta and so on.

So why are they taking away the only thing the wrestlers have?

The writer is a sports administrator with Mittal Champions Trust


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