Nenad Lalovic, the President of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), promised Wednesday to fight for the position of wrestling in Olympics and will make all the efforts to form one of the best federations.
Lalovic is in Sofia to attend the 2013 Junior World Wrestling Championships, which is kicked off on Aug. 14. Over 600 athletes from 62 countries and regions participate in the event. In the Arena Armeec Hall, volunteers of the championships and athletes in training wear T-shirts with slogan "SAVE OLYMPIC WRESTLING".
In a meeting with the Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Lalovic reiterated that wrestling with its old history and popularity in many countries should be remained in the Olympics.
"People are very concerned with that problem, because wrestling is practically and officially the most practiced sport. These T- shirts are all over the world, not only here. You can see them in the States, you can see them in Sweden, in Russia, in Africa," Lalovic told Xinhua.
"We do not blame IOC (International Olympic Committee) for the decision. We are the one who has to be blamed. We have left our sport a little bit behind the other sports. In the sense that we didn't modernize enough, we didn't follow the requirements of the IOC," he said.
On Feb. 12, the Executive Board of the IOC recommended wrestling to be left out of the Olympics in 2020. And the final decision will be made by the entire IOC in September in Buenos Aires.
According the FILA president, the federation has done its best in a short time to reverse the situation. Lalovic told Xinhua that there were many changes of the sport, including the constitutions, the rules, and the formation of new commissions.
"We have made questionnaire about our sport. We have taken measures to ensure the independence of our referee commission. All these efforts led to the different result in the meeting held in Saint Petersburg - we've got more votes," he said.
Lalovic assured that FILA would continue to make wrestling as a core sport, a spectacular sport no matter whether wrestling would succeed to remain in the Olympics. "We will fight to have one of the best organized federations in the world. We are developing the world wrestling plan, everybody is included."
The sport of wrestling is one of three sports (baseball- softball and squash) competing for one spot as an additional sport on the Olympic program for 2020 and 2024.
The President Plevneliev was one of the first leaders of the world to write his support for the sport to Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC.
"Bulgaria is one of the top 10 countries with the history of wrestling and will continue its efforts to support the Olympic status of this old sport," said Plevneliev.