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Wrestling’s return to Olympics preserves traditions, Karelin says

September 08, 2013, 22:50 UTC+3
Russian Olympic wrestling champion Alexander Karelin approves of the decision to reinstate wrestling
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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Sharifulin

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Sharifulin

BUENOS AIRES, September 8 (Itar-Tass) - Members of the International Olympic Committee have taken an absolutely right decision leaving wrestling in the Olympic Games’ programme, three-time Russian Olympic wrestling champion Alexander Karelin told Itar-Tass on Sunday adding that thus the Olympic movement preserved not only this sport, but also traditions.

“If there were no black mark issued by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee in February, it should have been invented,” he said. “This allowed to revive the Federation’s work and to make changes to the rules, not revolutionary ones, but those returning them back to the roots, as such rules had existed 35 years ago. This was the time when wrestling reached a peak of its popularity.”

Karelin noted that Nenad Lalovic, President of FILA, the international wrestling federation, made a great contribution to the victory of wrestling’s bid “acting as an equivalent to the whole diplomatic corps.” “Moreover, we had the most venerable team, all members of which are Olympic champions. It is good that we have included women in our team - Carol Huynh (of Canada) and Lise Legrand (of France) have sent a good emotional message,” he said.

On Sunday the International Olympic Committee at its session in Buenos Aires voted for returning wrestling to the Olympic Games seven months after it lost its spot. Wrestling received 49 votes beating two other sports - a combined baseball-softball (24) and squash (22).

Wrestling becomes the unquestionable favourite for the place in the programme of the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.

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