Tokyo win could boost wrestling Olympics bid

Tokyo win could boost wrestling Olympics bid

BUENOS - The International Olympic Committee (IOC), fresh from choosing Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, must next choose on Sunday between wrestling, baseball/softball and squash to fill the final sports slot left vacant for those Games.

The choice of Tokyo was seen as the IOC's preference for a "safe pair of hands" to run the Games, which could augur well for the traditional sport of wrestling, at which Japan has excelled in the past.

Baseball, however, is also hugely popular in the country and its supporters will hope that factor can help to propel them back into the Olympic fold for the first time since 2008.

Wrestling came into Buenos Aires as the firm favourites to complete a remarkable recovery and regain their place on the Olympic Games sports roster for the 2020 Summer Games.

One of the few sports to have bridged the gap between the ancient and modern Olympics, the sport has been through a mini revolution since the 15-person Executive Board (EB) of the IOC shocked many by voting it off at a meeting in February.

It sparked uproar, probably surprising several of the EB members, with even bitter political enemies such as Iran and the United States seeing their wrestlers join forces to plead for it to be restored.

Much of the credit for wrestling still having the chance of regaining its place lies with Serbian Nenad Lalovic, the man who was elected president of the federation after the previous incumbent was ejected following the EB decision.

Lalovic a genial larger than life character has engineered the reforms that have seen it become more TV friendly and also the bouts to reward aggressive wrestling rather than the passive style that may have won people medals before but was not sparkling entertainment.

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