Wrestling receives reprimand from IOC ahead of 2020 sports vote after turning themselves in

Friday, 06 September 2013
By Nick Butler at The Hilton in Buenos Aires

Nenad Lalovic (second left), President of FILA, will lead the wrestling team making a presentation to the IOC in Buenos Aires on SundaySeptember 6 - Nenad Lalovic, President of the International Federation for Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), admitted here today his sport received a reprimand from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a letter which broke campaign rules ahead of the Olympic Sports vote.

Although Lalovic himself reported the incident to the IOC, an official warning was sent to FILA on August 20 for being "engaged in activities that were not in lines with the rules of conduct".

But, this breaking of campaigning rules, appears to be only a minor blow to the sport in its bid to return to the Olympic fold ahead of the vote here on Sunday (September 8)

Wrestling remains the heavy favourite over rival bids from squash and baseball/softball and Lalovic reflected this confidence as he explained how the matter "is now closed".

"Last week we had a problem with letter from the Japanese Wrestling Federation to all other federations to try to help and influence IOC members," he said.

"It didn't fit with the rules of contact and we were contacted before anyone else and we informed the IOC everything that happened.

"My reaction was immediate - I was told everything that had been done and a minute later I was sending a letter to the IOC.

"The IOC told us that we reacted in the right way and that the issue is now closed."

Nenad Lalovic remains confident that wrestling will wins its battle to stay on the Olympic sports programme for 2020 despite an official warning from the International Olympic CommitteeNenad Lalovic remains confident that wrestling will wins its battle to stay on the Olympic sports programme for 2020 despite an official warning from the IOC

The admission formed one part of a powerful message here promoting wrestling's strong credentials at this late stage of its campaign.

Among those appearing alongside Lalovic was the Beijing 2008 48 kilogram champion Carol Huynh who said that while losing Olympic status had been "devastating" for the sport, it had also provided much needed impetus for change.

"Wonderful things have happened over the last seven months as the wrestling community has become invigorated and galvanised towards working for a single goal," she said.

On the women's side, this has involved a stronger voice for women on the FILA ruling Bureau, encouragement for women to be in higher positions within national federations and the addition of two new female weight classes at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

This forms part of a wider programme of change which have been rapidly introduced as part of the sport's bid to illustrate its adaptability to the modern world.

Rule changes which have already been successfully implemented at age group world championships, while greater television coverage and the introduction of a monthly rankings system have been other steps taken.

The World Junior Championships in Bulgaria last month saw several new rule changes successfully pioneeredThe World Junior Championships in Bulgaria last month saw several new rule changes successfully pioneered


Lalovic admitted that the sport did make mistakes which led to its loss of Olympic status but that - despite the IOC warning - they are now back on track to return to the fold in 2020.

"I have to admit that we were not listening enough and this is the result," he said.

"Our experience should be a lesson for everybody to keep their sport updates and always interesting for the spectators.

"I believe we have done everything we could in these seven months and we have found out how strong we are and how united we can be.

"It has been a journey through troubled waters but we can now see the harbour here in Buenos Aires."

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