Greeks want wrestling to stay in Olympics


Greece threw its weight behind the campaign to keep wrestling, a sport which has survived from the ancient Olympics, on the Games programme on Thursday.

Greek Sports Undersecretary Giannis Ioannidis called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to remove the sport from the 2020 programme.

In a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, Ioannidis said he expressed the feelings “of all the Greeks, but also the respect of our people and its sports history to keep the sport of wrestling in the Olympic Games pogramme”.

The 15-member Executive Board of the IOC on Tuesday voted to remove wrestling from the Olympic schedule.

“With great surprise and great sadness we learned of the decision of the IOC Executive Board to remove the sport of wrestling from the program of the Olympic Games of 2020.

The sport of wrestling is connected with Greece and the ancient Olympic Games,” Ioannidis wrote to Rogge.

The Greek official added that wrestling has a huge global appeal, noting that the International Wrestling Federation has 180 countries as members.

“The history, the tradition and the social acceptance that marks the sport should not be sacrificed on the altar of media ratings and marketing,” Ioannidis said.

On Wednesday the Hellenic Olympic Committee announced they fully support the Greek wrestling federation’s fight.

“This is one decision that is clearly at variance with the history of the Olympics and sport in general,” it said.

Greek wrestling federation president Kostas Thanos had already condemned the decision by the IOC was “sacrilege”.

“Wrestling is a sport that is identified with the Olympics and we cannot throw away such a symbol. The way they are going they may even remove the name Olympics,” Thanos said in a radio interview.