Buenos Aires, Sep 8: Wrestling regained its place in the Olympic Games after a intense vote by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, leaving behind baseball/softball and squash here Sunday.
Wrestling won the first round of voting with 49 of the 95 votes cast. The joint bid of baseball/softball was second with 24 votes while squash was third with 22.
Wrestling will now be seen not only in the 2020 Games hosted by Tokyo but also in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
It has been a great turn around of fortunes for wrestling that was dropped earlier this year in February by the 15-person IOC Executive Board.
It provoked an unprecedented outcry and after intense lobbying the wrestling bosses were successful in having the game reinstated.
Wrestling dates back to ancient Olympics. Either Greco-Roman or freestyle wrestling or both have been in every modern Olympics except in 1900.
However, it was surprisingly taken off from the 2020 Olympics by the IOC Executive Board in a February vote as the IOC looked to refresh its sports programme.
It has since battled back into contention, joining squash and baseball/softball as the three candidates on a shortlist for one sport on the programme of the 2020 Olympics.
But in a secret ballot, wrestling won back its spot in the Olympic programme.
“Thank you for this opportunity of saving our sport,” wrestling federation FILA president Nenad Lalovic told the IOC. “This is the most important day in our 3,000-year history. Remaining in the Olympics is crucial for wrestling’s survival.”