Hasan Arat, the head of Istanbul's bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, not only wants his city to host the Games, he wants wrestling reinstated if it does.
“If we are awarded the Games, Turkey wants to have wrestling events in Istanbul,” Arat said Tuesday.
The International Olympic Committee executive board voted earlier this month to drop wrestling beginning in 2020.
The three finalists to host the 2020 Games are Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The IOC meets in September and will make a decision then.
One of Turkey's five medals at the London Games came in wrestling — a bronze — while the country's only gold at the 2008 Beijing Games came in the sport.
“There is a big responsibility for the international wrestling federation to really make their presentation, to make them really understand the position of this sport in those countries, like the United States, like Russia, like Japan, like Uzbekistan, like Turkey, like Azerbaijan,” Arat said. “These countries are very sensitive about wrestling. I hope the wrestling federation will do their best to make their presentation.... They have to lobby; that's very normal.”