POSTED: June 24th 2013

FILA President Lalovic: We began this match on the mat - we are standing now

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Newly-elected FILA President Nenad Lalovic of Serbia released a statement today, Olympic Day, regarding the current state of wrestling amidst its battle to regain inclusion on the Olympic Programme.

“When word came that wrestling had been recommended for elimination from the Olympic Programme, it caused an international shockwave,” Lalovic’s statement read. “We asked ourselves how a sport with Olympic heroes like Alexander Medved, Ivar Johansson, Bruce Baumgartner and Saori Yoshida could lose its place in the Olympic Games? We realised we needed to respond and as dedicated athletes, from around the world, we came together and committed to doing everything necessary to remain in the Games – we summoned the strength to change.”

Lalovic, elected FILA President at a special Congress in Moscow 18 May, also cited the history of the sport of wrestling, dating back “4,000 years to Egypt,” as a way to focus the wrestling community’s efforts to get back on the Olympic Programme.

Lalovic has served on the FILA Bureau, president of the Serbian Wrestling Federation, and on the bureaus of CELA, the European Wrestling Federation and the Serbian Olympic Committee in recent years.

“We have recently taken steps to ensure our sport embodies Olympism every day, allowing us to become a better partner of the Olympic Movement,” Lalovic said.

Some of the changes made at the Extraordinary Congress in Moscow include ensuring at least one female serve as FILA Vice President, 19 members will be elected to the FILA Bureau, including three seats for women and three for active athletes, and instituting 15 different commissions, both new and restructured existing commissions.

In the sport itself, grappling and amateur mixed martial arts have been eliminated as recognised styles under FILA.

“Additionally, we have implemented new rules and begun the process of fashioning a more dynamic and easier-to-understand sport for the viewing audience to enjoy,” Lalovic said. “There is more than sheer strength involved in wrestling; a wrestler must have a keen mind and determined will to be successful at the highest level. We need to make it easier for every spectator to experience the true meritocracy of wrestling. These changes will make us a better organisation and a better sport.

“I want to thank wrestlers from all corners of the world for having the strength to change. We began this match lying on the mat. We are standing now, but we have much more to do to guarantee we have the opportunity to attain our sport’s greatest honour – an Olympic Medal.

“This summer, we are engaging the global wrestling community in a campaign, which takes the sport of wrestling everywhere, every day. From beach wrestling in Africa, to training in the snow of Russia, to women’s wrestling in Japan and the United States, we will share with everyone, on every continent, the greatness of our sport through photos, videos and words.

“And I personally commit, to wrestlers everywhere, I will give this fight my all. All of you, regardless of nationality, background, gender or age, deserve the opportunity to attain an Olympic Medal.”

Keywords · Olympics · International Olympic Committee · Wrestling · Serbia · Nenad Lalovic · FILA ·

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