Iain Hepburn | March 3, 2013
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to dump wrestling from the 2020 Olympic schedule has already struck an emotive chord among devotees of the traditional discipline. But now one champion is taking his protest to the next level.
Bulgarian coach, and two time Olympic gold medal winner, Armen Nazaryan has gone on hunger strike in the hope he will convince the IOC to reconsider their decision to delist it from the games in seven years time.
The IOC decided last month to remove it from the core list of 25 sports for the games, which will be held in Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid. Wrestling must now battle it out with roller sports, softball and rock climbing to feature at the Games, despite having been a cornerstone of the Olympics.
The 38-year-old has announced he will take only fluids between now and the European Championships, which take place in Georgia on March 22.
“Wrestling has always been on the Olympics programme and it is not right to take it out,” he said in a statement.
“I sincerely hope that my action will convince the IOC to review its decision.”
The decision to dump wrestling as a core Olympic sport in favor of the likes of modern pentathlon or taekwondo has sparked outrage, not just from grappling’s practitioners but from Olympic puritsts as it has featured at every Games bar one since 1896.