27 Feb 2013

Another wrestler returns gold medal

5:13 pm on 27 February 2013

Russia's Sagid Murtazaliev has become the second wrestler in the last few days to return his Olympic gold medal in protest against the sport's possible exclusion from the Games.

Murtazaliev, who won gold in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, says it was a tough decision, but he wanted to follow the example of 7-time world champion Valentin Yordanov of Bulgaria who sent his 96 Olympic gold medal back to the IOC last week.

Murtazaliev says he's also written a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, protesting against the IOC executive board's recommendation to drop the sport in 2020.

The decision has outraged the wrestling community throughout the world, with several countries, including the sport's superpowers Russia, Japan and the United States, lobbying the IOC to keep the ancient sport on the Olympic programme.

Part of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and all further editions, except the 1900 Paris Games, wrestling now joins seven other candidates battling for one spot in a revamped programme.

The IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to determine which of them will be put to the vote at the IOC session in Buenos Aires in September.