By Duncan Mackay

Nenad Lalovic speaking at Moscow May 18 2013May 18 - Serbia's Nenad Lalovic has been officially elected as the new President of International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), as part of the Extraordinary Congress held today at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow.


The vote to approve Lalovic was 125 for and seven against, making him only the seventh President in the history of FILA, which was founded in 1912.

He had been Interim President since February following the resignation of Switzerland's Raphaël Martinetti, who stood down following the controversial decision by the International Olympic Committee's ruling Executive Board to recommend wrestling be dropped from the Games after Rio 2016.

"I thank you for your trust and confidence," said the 55-year-old Lalovic, a member of FILA's ruling Bureau since 2006, addressing delegates from 111 member federations who attended the Congress.

After he was elected, Lalovic handed all the delegates an envelope and said the person in the envelope would be tasked with implementing the changes wrestling needed to retain its place in the Olympics. 

Each envelope contained a mirror.

"What goes on in this room today and the days that follow will determine if we are an Olympic sport after 2016," Lalovic told them.

"We have been given a strong message by the IOC.

"How we answer that message will determine if our future includes the Olympic Games.

"We need to convince the IOC that we will listen to them.

"We are strong enough to change."

Nenad Lalovic Moscow May 18 2013Nenad Lalovic told delegates at the FILA Extraordinary Congress that it was up to them to implement the changes needed to save wrestling's place on the Olympic programme

After electing Lalovic, the Congress accepted a series of new rules and constitutation changes which will be adopted immediately and are aimed at convincing the IOC that the sport was capable of modernising and it should preserve its place on the Olympic programme.

The sport has appeared in every Olympics since their revival at Athens in 1896, with the exception of Paris in 1900.

The new rules include ensuring matches are made up out of two three-minute sessions instead of three two-minute periods.

Scoring will become cumulative instead of the previous two-out-of-three system and a takedown is now worth two points, making it more valuable than a point for the pushout or a penalty point.

Other changes included trying to stamp out passivity by awarding penalty points to try to make bouts more exciting.

Constitutional changes included establishing mandatory women's vice-presidency role and giving athletes a greater role in the running of the sport.

The new FILA Bureau will include 19 elected members, including three seats reserved for women and three for Olympic and world champions.

A new Women and Sport Commission is to be set-up and the Athletes' Commission expanded to give them a bigger say in the running of the sport.

Wrestling is now one of eight sports that will be competing for the one place on offer at the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in either Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo.

Its first test will be a crucial presentation to the IOC Executive Board at St Petersburg on May 29 after which the number of sports will be cut, probably to three, for the full membership to vote on at the Session in Buenos Aires on September 8.

"This is a family, full of those with pride and passion," said Lalovic as he closed the Congress.

"And Strength.

"We showed that strength today.

"And we showed wisdom.

"And we showed that we have this opportunity, and like wrestlers on the mat, we are going to take advantage of this chance to score.

"Today is the first step on the road to continue in the Olympic Games.

"To continue that dream for all those young men and women,"

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