Wrestling axed from 2020 Summer Olympic games

“This has got to be a joke. This can’t be real.” Olympic hopeful Kelsey Raab

Wrestling may be on the chopping block for the 2020 Olympics and the news has been felt around the globe — even in Ponoka.

“This has got to be a joke. This can’t be real,” Olympic hopeful Kelsey Raab thought when she heard the news. “I don’t know what to think about it. I think it’s dumb to pull a sport like this.”

This decision will affect athletes around the globe and Raab feels wrestling deserves a spot in the Olympics.

Historical records trace the competition to 776 B.C. with wrestling taking a place among jumping, discus throw, boxing, pankration (primitive martial arts) and equestrian events.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced 25 sports it will recommend to be a part of the 2020 summer Olympics with wrestling joining seven short-listed sports hoping to make it to the program; baseball/softball, karate, roller sports such as rollerblading, rock climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu.

Raab has spoken with many of her wrestling friends and all question the future of the sport in the Olympics. “I’ve seen, ‘Save our Olympic Sport,” on Facebook and Twitter.”

She feels the sport deserves a place. “It’s a physical and mental sport.”

Competing world-class athletes at the Olympics is something Raab has always wanted. “To make it that far where you can make it to that level and succeed.”

Her stats are reported to the governing body of world wrestling, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA). A release from the agency stated it was astonished with the IOC’s decision.

“FILA has always complied with the IOC regulations and is represented in 180 countries, with wrestling being the national sport in a fair amount of them and the only possibility for athletes to represent their country at the Olympic Games, thus contributing to their universality.”

One of the arguments from the IOC appears to involve low television ratings and a desire to reduce the number of sports at the Olympics. Other criteria considered included anti-doping policies and global participation and popularity.

Since the announcement FILA president Raphael Martinetti has resigned and interim president Nenad Lalovic seeks to restore wrestling to the program.

Despite the disappointment, Raab intends to keep training and competing as there are world cup challenges and the Commonwealth Games still includes wrestling. She also has not lost hope as there is still a chance to come back in from the short-list.

Both Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling have been taken off the list of core sports. There are 25 main sports proposed for the 2020 event with one of the seven short-listed sports pleading their case to the IOC in May.