Olympics: Wrestilng chief victim of sports vote fallout

Raphael Martinetti resigned as president of The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) on Saturday after he was largely held to blame for the sport losing its spot at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Martinetti's position became untenable when to many people's surprise the 15-man International Olympic Committee's Executive Board voted it off the programme on Tuesday.

While the decision was greeted with widespread dismay not least from Martinetti, his plea to his fellow wrestling board members in Phuket, Thailand, that he should lead the fight to have it reinstated failed to convince them and he received only 50% of the votes.

"Mr Martinetti did not use his deciding vote to save his position and announced that he was resigning in order to allow the new President to resolve the situation," read a curt statement on the federation's website.

Wrestling will remain on the programme for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but faces a fight against seven other sports for inclusion at the Games four years later.

Another IOC Executive Board meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, in May will nominate the sport that should be put forward to all the members at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.

One disgruntled member told AFP that there was a strong possibility that the wider IOC membership could well vote wrestling back onto the programme.

If they don't, however, it will see one of the few sports that survived from the original Olympics in ancient Greece into the modern era disappear.

Wrestling first appeared in 708 BC and has only ever been left out of the Olympic programme once before in 1900.