FILAs interim president Nenad Lalovic touched down in New Delhi on Friday as he flies across the globe to garner support for wrestling ahead of the International Olympic Committees May 29 meeting that will vote on whether the sport has a future in the 2020 Olympics. Speaking to The Indian Express,the Serbian made it clear that the body is in the process of making drastic changes,like getting more women on its board and even going as far as having mixed-rounds,as they mount a fight for wrestlings survival. Excerpts:
You have taken over as interim chief under trying conditions. Your thoughts on the road ahead?
We find ourselves in a difficult position after the IOC decision in February. Now we are fighting back to rejoin the Olympic family. And thats my sole job at the moment. Our position will be reconsidered at the IOC executive body in St Petersburg on 29th of May and we are preparing for that. We are at a crossroads right now,but we dont blame the IOC for what happened. We can blame ourselves. We had made a lot of changes. Now we have to go in front of the same commission (and convince them) to try to have a another kind of vote or judgment.
One thing that has come out in the aftermath of the IOCs decision has been the number of influential world leaders that spoke out against the decision. Does it give you hope ahead of the May meeting?
This is the real strength of our sport. We have 177 affiliated countries. Not a lot of sports can say that. Our history is unmatched and we will fight. Now,we have been given a second chance to fight and we will fight on the mat like real Olympians. We have made a lot of mistakes before and we are trying to fix them. We have some chances (to get back in the Olympics) but even if we dont succeed this summer we will succeed one day or another because we will never stop the fight. Even if we become an additional sport in 2020-24,we will continue to fight to re-become core sports.
What are the decisions should we expect to come out of the FILA meeting in Moscow?
We will discuss how to democratise our constitution and to get more women on board and in our decision maing. Also,we want to change our rules and to make it more watchable and understandable. Our rules are old because of our traditions and for the last 30-35 years we have not been doing well. Tradition is one thing but to go forward you have to stay in accordance to the times you live in and thats what we are trying to do.
Any changes you think might make it more attractive?
We want more women at the Olympics and we also want to cut down on the mens competition. We will propose to the IOC that for the next competition (Olympics) we will have six categories for women alone. There were only four for female wrestlers in London. We will have to cut the Freestyle and Greco-Roman categories from seven each to six. Women wrestling has become very interesting for the spectators.
Will there be changes in how the bouts are conducted?
Everything will be more clearer after the Moscow meeting. But what I can tell you is that there will be no draws (after a round) for sure. There will be no positions that upset some religions and probably the rule that gets a wrestler points for pushing his opponent out of the mat will go.
The idea is to show the majesty of wrestling and that the strongest and more technically sound wrestler should win. Not this casino system,the roulette system (clinch). This is not interesting. We have two disciplines (Freestyle and Greco Roman) and the rules are different.
And may be the format should be different too. May be there should be two rounds in freestyles and one round in Greco-Roman. It is very hard for a Greco wrestler to show his skills in a two-minute round. Also singlets could be different,to help spectators understand the difference between these two disciplines.
Wrestlings changing face
FILA will propose these changes in the upcoming general body meeting to help wrestling get back in the Olympic fold:
* More women on board,in decision making positions.
* Increase in the Olympic categories of female wrestling from four to six. Both formats in mens could be reduced by one.
* System of breaking the deadlock during rounds called clinch might be axed.
* Rule that gives a point for pushing his opponent out of the mat to go.
* Total time of six minutes a constant,Freestyle and GR will have two and one round each.