For image change,wrestling’s chief shows mirror to members

The recently-concluded International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) meeting in had a surprise in store for the officials gathered in Moscow from around the world.

Written by Mihir Vasavda | Mumbai | Published: May 21, 2013 1:02 am

The recently-concluded International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) meeting in had a surprise in store for the officials gathered in Moscow from around the world. When delegates found a sealed envelope in front of them,the newly-elected FILA president Serbian Nenad Lalovic announced that they would soon come face-to-face with someone who could play a big role in wrestling’s comeback to the Olympic fold.

The wrestling chief’s cryptic message was clear when the members found a mirror inside the envelope. With FILA scheduled to make a crucial presentation to the International Olympic Council (IOC) at St Petersburg later this month to push their readmission,Lalovic wanted all hands on deck.

The president of the Wrestling Federation of India,Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh,who was present at the meeting where FILA decided upon several reforms to streamline the sport,said the ‘mirror trick’ certainly worked. “It was a symbolic gesture. That was the over-riding theme of the meeting. Each of us has to work hard to ensure that (wrestling remains in the Olympics),” Singh said.

uphill task

Lalovic,who was in New Delhi recently for the Asian Championships,is believed to have reminded the members of the uphill task that awaits them in the coming few days. “What goes on in this room today and the days that follow will determine if we are an Olympic sport after 2016,” Lalovic is believed to have told them. “We have been given a strong message by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). How we answer that message will determine if our future includes the Olympic Games … We are strong enough to change.”

Wrestling,which has appeared in every staging of the modern Olympics but one,since the inaugural edition at Athens in 1896,was dumped out of the programme in February by the IOC. It will now vie with seven other sports for one place on offer at the 2020 Olympics,which will be held in either Istanbul,Madrid or Tokyo.

Wrestling’s first test will come on May 29,when FILA officials will make a crucial presentation to the IOC Executive Board at St Petersburg,Russia. The IOC will subsequently shortlist three sports for a final vote during the full session in Buenos Aires on September 8.

“The atmosphere right now is quite positive. There have been many positives since the new president (Lalovic) took over and we are confident that we will retain our spot in the Olympics,” Singh said.

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