(AP) AP Interview: Rogge praises wrestling’s changes
By STEPHEN WILSON
AP Sports Writer
Wrestling’s governing body has “reacted well” and made the necessary changes to give the sport a chance of saving its place in the Olympics, IOC President Jacques Rogge said.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Rogge said FILA has dealt with the issues that led the IOC executive board in February to remove wrestling from the list of core sports for the 2020 Games.
Rogge praised the measures approved by FILA at its congress in Moscow last weekend, including rule changes to make matches more compelling and the inclusion of women and athletes in decision-making positions.
Wrestling is now competing with seven other sports for a single spot on the 2020 program. The IOC board meets next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, and will recommend one sport or a shortlist of sports for a vote by the full IOC in September.
Wrestling, which dates back to the ancient Olympics, remains on the sports lineup for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The sports seeking inclusion in 2020 are squash, wakeboarding, karate, wushu, roller sports and a combined baseball-softball bid. They will all make presentations to the IOC board next Wednesday in St. Petersburg.
The board members will vote by secret ballot Sept. 8 on which sport or sports to submit to the IOC assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
There has been widespread speculation in Olympic circles that the board will recommend a list of three or four sports, including wrestling.
The IOC decision in February to drop wrestling led to the resignation of FILA president Raphael Martinetti. Nenad Lalovic, who took over in an interim capacity, was elected fulltime president at last Saturday’s congress in Moscow.
Lalovic “understood there were shortcomings both in governance but also in presentation and appeal of the sport in terms of clarity of the rules of competition and a whole range of issues that they had to change,” Rogge said.
Under changes approved in Moscow, matches will consist of two 3-minute sessions instead of three 2-minute periods, and scoring will be cumulative instead of the previous two-out-of-three system. FILA also changed its constitution to include a female vice president.