The Wrestling Association of the Philippines has joined the clamor lodged by its international federation to convince the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision to strike off the sport from its calendar starting the 2020 Games.
WAP secretary general Karlo Silverio Sevilla yesterday said they go hand in hand with wrestling powerhouses Russia, Iran and the United States to keep what is considered the “world’s most ancient sport” in the Games’ roster of events.
He added that though they felt “shocked and depressed with the turn of events,” they are taking a positive outlook on the issue.
“It is heartening to witness and feel the strong resolve of the international wrestling community to keep the world’s most ancient sport in the Olympic Games,” said Sevilla via email. “The Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) is honored to be one with all the national wresting federations fighting for our sport.”
He also appealed on behalf of the country’s fledgling wrestling development program which is striving to work its way back in the Games after last taking part in 1988.
“We are not yet a strong wrestling country, but we work hard for our Filipino children’s Olympic dreams. And it is for this compelling reason that we commit our small-but-earnest voice to the worldwide clamor to keep wrestling in its ancestral house and rightful home,” Sevilla added.
The Philippines first took part in the Olympics in the 1948 London Games and continued to send grapplers until the 1988 edition in Seoul.
Salvador del Rosario gave the country its best performance in the international stage when he won the flyweight gold medal in the 1970 World Wrestling Championships held in Columbus, Ohio.
The Philippines ruled the Southeast Asian Games wrestling competitions held here in 2005 with five gold medals.
WAP, headed by president Albert Balde, was established in 1969.