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SPORTS

Chief of Spanish federation vows to fight Olympic wrestling veto

“Greco-Roman wrestling is a natural sport to include in the Games and it cannot be allowed to disappear”

Ángel López Rojo, the president of the Spanish Wrestling Federation, has vowed to challenge the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to exclude the sport from the 2020 Olympic Games and thereafter.

“I think it is terrible that the sport is to be removed from the Olympic Games,” he said Wednesday. “Greco-Roman wrestling is a sport that comes from Greece; it is a natural sport to include in the Games and it cannot be allowed to disappear. We will fight, in the truest sense of the word, to keep this discipline in the Olympics.”

The IOC Executive Committee voted this week in Lausanne, Switzerland to scrap wrestling from the 2020 program to reduce its list of core sports from 26 to 25, allowing a new discipline to be added. Before the vote it was thought that modern pentathlon would be the sport that failed to make the cut. Wrestling will now have to apply for reinstatement, where it will vie for a 2020 spot with seven sports, including wakeboarding, karate and baseball, which have never featured. Wrestling dates back to the first Olympic Games in Ancient Greece.

“When I heard the news, my friends texted me and I thought they were pulling my leg,” said Spanish bronze medalist at the London Games, Maider Unda. “But when I saw the news, I realized it could be a reality. It’s a decision that’s hanging there but I don’t think it will be carried out. Without the Games a minority sport like this is destined to disappear.”

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