By Duncan Mackay

Wrestling London 2012 generalApril 5 - May will be "World Wrestling Month", the sport's world governing body has declared, as it steps up its attempts to keep its place on the Olympic programme after Rio 2016.

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) is encouraging its 177 members to organise acitivies to promote the sport to try to raise awareness of its campaign to stay on the Games programme after it was controversially axed from the list of core sports by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board earlier this year. 

"World Wrestling Month will feature a variety of activities for our athletes and national federations," said FILA's acting President Nenad Lalovic.  

"The month will celebrate our storied past as well as our strong future. 

"Many of the countries around the world will be announcing their celebrations and plans in the coming weeks."

Wrestling is due to give a presentation to the IOC Exeuctive Board at St Petersburg on May 29,  where they will appear alongside baseball-softball, karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu, the seven sports bidding to be included on the programme from 2020.

"The Wrestling Federation of Russia and the European Committee of Associated Wrestling Styles totally support this effort by FILA to put a spotlight on the sport of wrestling for the month of May," said Georgy Bryusov, first vice-president of the Wrestling Federation of Russia.

"We have an excellent chance to show our pride and passion for our sport and why we believe it belongs on the programme of the Olympic Games."

Save Olympic Wrestling bannerGroups from all over the world will be encouraged next month to participate in the "Save Olympic Wrestling" campaign

Events during the month will include international dual meets in cities around the world, sport demonstrations and youth events.

Some of the competitions will involve proposed rule changes to the sport. 

Each National Federation will announce its own schedule of events in the coming weeks.

"USA Wrestling looks forward to helping promote World Wrestling Month as part of our continued support for the 'Keep Olympic Wrestling' effort, ".said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling's executive director.

"We have some very exciting plans for international competition in the United States in May to help celebrate this special month.

"USA Wrestling will also recognise international wrestling month at a variety of other wrestling events and activities at all levels during the month of May.

"Wrestling is truly a universal sport, and we take pride in doing our part to publicise the sport within our country."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]