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Reform won’t stop,says FILA chief

The 55-year-old Serbian has led the reforms in the sport since it was surprisingly dropped from the programme for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Written by AFP | Paris | Published: August 29, 2013 3:10:00 am

The sweeping reforms that have transformed wrestling in the past six months will not stop even if the sport regains its place at the 2020 Olympics,federation president Nenad Lalovic said.

The 55-year-old Serbian has led the reforms in the sport since it was surprisingly dropped from the programme for the 2020 Summer Olympics after a vote by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board in February.

However,thanks to the efforts by Lalovic and his team they are considered favourites to see off squash and a joint softball/baseball bid to be restored to the 2020 sports roster when IOC members vote in Buenos Aires on September 8.

But Lalovic said,win or lose,the reforms already put in place would be added to. “We fell into the worst crisis that this sport has known in 3000 years,” said the Serbian.

“But in just six months we have succeeded in implementing the reforms that we were advised to do by the IOC. There are new rules,an independent refereeing commission and there will be six women’s categories at the Rio Games in 2016.

“We dug deep and found the resources necessary to implement these reforms,which was not easy but we succeeded in doing as much as possible in six months.

“However,whether we win or lose in Buenos Aires the reforms will continue as we have an obligation to the athletes and the sport.”

Lalovic,who will be in Buenos Aires from Sunday to prepare for the final presentation to the IOC members,said that chief among the reforms was to make it a more television-friendly sport.

The overhaul

That will range from the rather skimpy and unattractive kit the wrestlers wear to the arena they perform in.

“The rules were not very understandable and there didn’t appear to be any structure to the sport,” he said.

“Now the rules are very understandable and very good for TV. Everyone can now understand what happens in two minutes.

“Now we will continue to work with TV on the wrestlers kit for instance. Before we used to look only at their socks because of the nature of their strip but we want to change that now. Lalovic said the reforms had already been embraced by the crowds at the recent world junior championships in Sofia.

“Normally the crowds would come for the pre-championships concert and then leave but this time they stayed on and were delighted with the spectacle and the intensity of the bouts.

“For the wrestlers were not spending time just tussling on the mat but were fighting standing up.”

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