(Originally posted on InsideTheGames.biz)
Later this week, I will have the honour of being part of the team that makes wrestling's final presentation to the full membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This will be, without question, one of the most important days in the three thousand year history of our sport, but it will be especially significant for women around the world.
Women's wrestling officially joined the Olympic programme at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and as we approach our ten-year anniversary, we are faced with the possibility of disappearing from the very programme we fought so hard to be a part of.
To understand how important opportunities for women's wrestling are, you only need to look at my fellow presentation team member, Lise Legrand and myself. Both of us were originally inspired by male wrestlers to try our hand at what was a male-dominated sport. It is our hope that our hard work, determination and our Olympic medals, now serve as inspiration to young female wrestlers from around the world to break down gender barriers and achieve their own personal dreams.
And now our sport will embrace the Olympic dreams of female athletes more than ever. Starting at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, FILA has added two additional weight classes for women while reducing two for men, providing the opportunity for more women to participate in the Olympic Games. These women will not only add more excitement to the Olympic Games, but when they return home, they will encourage even more women to participate in sport.
Over the last six months, the Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), now under the direction of its new President, Nenad Lalovic, has introduced additional groundbreaking changes that have modernised this ancient sport. These changes were necessary and if we are honest, we should have initiated them on our own and long ago.
It took significant action from the IOC Executive Board for us to recognise what we needed to do. We have made tremendous progress in just six short months and I am excited about how our sport will evolve even further. We will accept nothing less than a "new wrestling", which is an innovative, exciting and modern sport.
FILA has created or restructured seventeen Commissions to better govern our sport and we are ensuring gender and athlete participation and balance on each Commission. This new governance will dramatically improve our sport every day, not just in Olympic years. I have taken this restructuring and the possibilities that come with it to heart, as I have decided to stand for one of the seats available to athletes. I want to help ensure that these changes are enacted and we continue to make improvements to our sport.
The new rule changes make sure that wrestling is about speed, strength and strategy. A wrestler can no longer be passive and win a match. The point system has changed to reward action, which is making our sport more attractive to spectators, the media and sponsors. Wrestlers at our junior and cadet levels learned this at their recently completed World Championships and have shared positive feedback with FILA on the new scoring system.
Tag(s): International News