In what could be a big disappointment for sports lovers around the globe, the wrestling sport could be dropped from the 2020 Olympic Games if the recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is anything to go by.
Sushil Kumar poses with his silver medal at the podium of the Men's 66Kg Freestyle wrestling at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012.
The IOC committee at its meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday recommended the dismissal of the sport from the Olympics after assessing all 26 sports at 2012 London Games, in order to make way for a new sport.
Wrestling will now compete with seven other sports, namely karate, wushu, roller sports, baseball/softball, squash, sport climbing and wakeboarding for a place in the next Olympics.
It is very unlikely that wrestling will be taken back at the next IOC meet in September but officials maintained that it's not the end.
"This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told BBC. "This is not about what's wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games."
The recommendation has especially disturbed the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
"FILA will take all necessary steps to convince the executive committee and members of the IOC of this aberration of a decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games," said FILA in a statement.
Wrestlers from around the world expressed shock over IOC's proposal..
"Wrestling and the Olympics go hand-in-hand. When you start taking the original sports away from the Olympics, you really change what the Olympic Games are. What are you going to do next - change the name of the Olympics?" 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Cael Sanderson from America told BBC.
"I didn't see it coming. I'm very shocked, surprised and disappointed. Wrestling is one of the most ancient sports, but I think the world has changed. This will have a huge impact on wrestling. When you are young you aspire to compete at an Olympics or World Cup. When a sport is not at the Olympics, as a child you will choose a different sport," said British wrestler Non Evans as saying.
Except in the 1900 Paris Olympics event, wrestling was featured in every one of the games since its introduction at the modern Athens Olympics 1896. At the 2012 London Olympics, 344 athletes competed for 18 golds in various categories, with Russia and Japan bagging four golds each.
How Will the Decision of IOC Affect India's Medal Prospect At Olympics?
The sudden decicion of the IOC to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has come as a big shock for medal-starved India.
"I don't see any reason why IOC decided to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic programme. I am still finding it difficult to come to terms with the news," Sushil Kumar, who won back-to-back Olympics medals - bronze at Beijing and silver at London Olympics - in 66 kg freestyle event, told PTI.
"In my view, the IOC would find it difficult to remove it from the list given the sport's huge popularity across the globe. It's an old sport and famous worldwide," he added.
"I am extremely disappointed to hear the news. Wrestling has made India a force to reckon with in the Olympic arena and the IOC has dropped a worldwide famous sport from its list. It's a shocking news to me," London Olympics bronze medallist, Yogeshwar Dutt told PTI.
India's medal prospect at the Olympics could get a further beating if wrestling is excluded from the 2020 Games. Out ff the total six medals won by India at the 2012 London Games, two were from wrestling - silver by Sushil Kumar and bronze by Yogeshwar Dutt. India also won a medal in wrestling at the 2008 Beijin Olympics with Sushil bringing home a bronze.
Out of the 26 medals India has won ever since her participation in the Olympics, four of them were from wrestling.
The decision of the IOC will certainly shock wrestlers preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics event, more so for youngsters who are looking forward to compete at the 2020 Olympics.
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