By Duncan Mackay

Olympic wrestling London 2012March 5 - Wrestling's fight to stay on the Olympic programme has the backing of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), its President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah promised today.

The pledge came during a meeting in Sydney today of the ANOC Executive Council, the first time that they have met since the ruling Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to cut wrestling from the list of core sports after Rio 2016. 

"'[There was] unanimous support for wrestling...and we will meet the IOC to discuss," IOC Sheikh Ahmad told Australian Associated Press.

"We are very keen to maintain wrestling in the sport programme.

'Like everybody we're surprised wrestling is out of the programme.

"I think there's surprise not only in this house, but outside.

"Even in the house of the IOC when the result was announced.

"Surprise was everywhere.

"We will work very closely with the wrestling IF (International Federation) and the NOCs and the continent organisations to give us support for wrestling to maintain its place in the sports programme."

AOC President John Coates presents ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah with an Olympic Merit from the Australian Olympic CommitteeANOC President Sheikh Ahmad (left) was awarded the Olympic Merit from the Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates (right) during his trip to Sydney

Wrestling is due to give a presentation to the IOC's Executive Board, when they next meet in St Petersburg between May 29 and 31, along with baseball/softball, climbing, karate, roller sports, squash, wakeboarding and wush, who are all bidding to become part of the Olympic programme in 2020.

After each sport has given its presentation it is expected that the IOC Executive Board will select up to three sports and then let the full membership decide on which one to choose at the Session in Buenos Aires in September. 

"We respect the mechanism and the resolution of the IOC, but also I have confidence that the Session will vote in favour of maintaining wrestling," said Sheikh Ahmad.

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