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September 8, 2013

International Olympics Committee reinstates wrestling to 2020 Games

(Continued)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina —

 
The result was welcomed by IOC members as rectifying a mistake.
 
"We cannot imagine the games without wrestling," said Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the influential Kuwaiti who heads the Association of National Olympic Committees. "Wrestling is a founder. Today was a great result."
 
Squash was trying to make the Olympics for the third time. Men's baseball and women's softball merged into a single federation to try to return after being dropped for the 2012 and 2016 Games.
 
Raphael Martinetti resigned as FILA president within days of the IOC vote and was replaced by Lalovic.
 
FILA reworked its structure, giving women and athletes a role in decision making. It added two weight classes for women. It adopted rule changes to make the sport easier to understand and more fun to watch, and reward more aggressive wrestling.
 
Powerful countries and unlikely political allies like the United States, Iran and Russia threw their weight behind the campaign.
 
"Wrestling is new in virtually every way," FILA official Jim Scherr told the delegates.
 
Each sport had 20 minutes to make its case to the IOC.
 
Don Porter, the American co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, choked up and had tears in his eyes as he talked about receiving letters from young girls who were distraught when softball was dropped.
 
"We want to give every little girl and boy in the world a chance to play our game," Porter said.
 
Antonio Castro, the son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, played up baseball's global appeal.
 
"Today we are the most popular sport in the world which is not part of the Olympic program," he said. "As everyone knows, baseball is not just a sport, it's a business."
 
Squash federation chief N. Ramachandran said his sport would represent the future, not the past, an apparent dig at wrestling.

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