Wrestling's world body president resigns

The president of wrestling’s world governing body FILA resigned on Saturday less than a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that the sport be dropped from the 2020 Summer Games.

Switzerland’s Raphael Martinetti announced he was stepping down at a FILA Executive Committee meeting in Phuket, a move confirmed by bureau member Rodica Yaksi when contacted by Reuters on Saturday.

“He has given his resignation. The bureau has selected an interim president for the extraordinary congress that will be held in Budapest in September during the world championships,” the Turk said over telephone.

“We just voted and elected Mr Nenad Lalovic (from Serbia) as the interim president for the congress... not the FILA president.”

FILA vice-president Tomiaki Fukuda told reporters that the governing body would continue to review wrestling’s plight during the annual gathering being held in Phuket.
“We will discuss in what ways we can bring wrestling back, but if nothing is decided today, we’ll continue our discussions tomorrow,” Fukuda said.

USA Wrestling thanked the outgoing president and welcomed the changes being made at the governing body.

“USA Wrestling and the international wrestling community wishes to thank Raphael Martinetti for his service and lifelong commitment to the sport,” the association’s executive director Rich Bender was quoted as saying on its official website.

“This decision provides international wrestling with an opportunity to change and improve.

“The sport will now be able to create a fresh new relationship with the International Olympic Committee and address some of the pressing challenges and opportunities facing wres­tling.”

The IOC Executive Board made a surprise recommendation on Tuesday to drop the sport from the 2020 Games. Wrestling was part of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and all further editions of the Games, except the 1900 Paris Olympics.

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