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International Olympics Committee’s (IOC) bizarre plan to exclude wrestling from 2020 Olympics has left the world wrestling fraternity in shock. Two of the biggest akhadas in Delhi, Chandgiram akhada and Satpatpal Singh’s akhada at Chhatrasaal Stadium, have been particularly badly affecetd.

Two days later, though many trainees are still busy performing their daily drills under the watchful eyes of coachig teams comprising some of the biggest names in Indian wrestling like double Olympic gold medallist Sushil Kumar, the centres are looking much calm and quiet, still to come to terms with the fact. After finishing his tutorial, Sushil expressed his disappointment by saying, ‘This is bizarre. Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest games, how can it be elaminated from Olympics? The issue is getting politicised. Though our Olympic association has been debarred, the government, specially the sports ministry, must  react on it.’

The wrestler worried about the generation after him. ‘I know these kids are inspired by me. I can see the dream in their eyes. IOC should look over its plan because there are only 10-15 mainstream Olympics sports. If fundamental events like wrestling gets pushed out, what would be left?’

Sushil’s mentor Satpal Singh said India have just started to do well in this game. ‘Our wrestlers now dream big so it is  unfortunate that wrestling should get excluded.  At Chhatrasaal Stadium, we train over 200 kids with an eye on 2020 Olympics. What will be their future now,? asked Satpal.

Jagdish Kaliraman, director of Chandgi Ram
said, ‘Wrestling is a core Olympic sport and it’s not easy to push it out because it’s played in more than 60 countries. FILA (international wrestling federation) should work hard to make wrestling more spectator-friendlyat the international level so that more people could connect to it.’ He emphasized that IOC seems to be more interested in revenues from TV rights etc and it’s ignoring the value of this ancient game. ‘As per my information, Japan will likely host the 2020 Games while Turkey and Spain too are in the race. Only Spain is a non-wrestling country. So if Spain wins this race, the probability of elimination will be more,’ he added.

The wrestling fraternity is still hopefull that its international body, along with member countries, will come together and raise their voice.
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