World wrestling chief fired after Olympic snub

Last Updated 16 February 2013, 09:51 IST

The head of the international wrestling federation Raphael Martinetti has been fired after receiving a vote of no-confidence in the wake of the sport's exclusion from the group of core Olympic disciplines, a Russian official said Saturday.

FILA chief Martinetti had come under fire for failing to do enough to promote wrestling inside the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the Swiss official reportedly paid for it with his job at an emergency session called in Phuket, Thailand.

"The FILA bureau has taken the decision to express its lack of trust in Rafael Martinetti, and he has been dismissed," said Mikhail Mamiashvili, the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation told R-Sport.

The IOC's executive board voted Wednesday to remove it from the core Olympic program, and the sport must now battle seven candidate disciplines for the sole remaining slot.

That vote came after representatives of various existing sports, including FILA, made pitches to the IOC to support their own inclusion.

Martinetti was elected to the position of FILA president in 2002, succeeding Milan Ercegan of the former Yugoslavia.

He has served FILA in various capacities for more than 30 years.

Russia finished top of the London 2012 wrestling medals table with four gold medals, and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the Russian government would throw its weight behind efforts to reinstate wrestling.

Wrestling was one of the most respected sports at the ancient Olympics and has been included at every edition of the modern Olympics except the 1900 Games, and offered 18 of the 302 gold medals at London 2012.

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee has already pledged his support for the sport and FILA has called the ruling "an aberrance" and vowed to fight on.

The national Olympic committees of countries as diverse as the United States, Iran and India have also suggested they will push for the sport to return to the Olympic schedule.

(Published 16 February 2013, 09:16 IST)

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