To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world
By William May
（Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public
Kyodo World Services, senior sports writer：firstname.lastname@example.org）
MARTINETTI VOWS TO PROTECT STYLES, CATEGORIES IN OLYMPICS
TOKYO (October 11) - FILA president Raphael
Martinetti vowed to protect wrestling。ッs
two styles and seven weight categories in
the Olympic Games during a press conference
with the Japanese media at the recent World
Cup of women's wrestling. Martinetti, interviewed
in Japanese with a translator, pointed out
that some countries wrestle only one style
and to eliminate either freestyle or greco-roman
from the Olympic program would close the
door to the Games for some of these countries.
Martinetti, elected FILA president in
September 2002, also discussed possible wild
card berths to the Olympics for Iraq and
Afghanistan, changes in attitudes toward
women。ッs wrestling, and a possible change
in the current competition system.
Question: The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
has recommended that one of the two men。ッs
styles be eliminated (from the Olympic program),
Mr. Martinetti: It is true that the IOC Program Commission
has made such a proposal. But, IOC president
Jacques Rogge has agreed that both styles
are necessary in wrestling. Eliminating either
of the styles would be like trying to run
the 100 meters on one leg. There are a number
of countries that wrestle only freestyle
and others that only wrestle greco-roman.
If one style were to be eliminated, it would
mean that those countries (that practice
only that particular style) would have their
way to the Olympics closed.
Q: Does this mean that both styles will continue
to be held in the Olympics?
M: We have an understanding that wrestling
will continue as is through the 2008 Beijing
Olympics. After Beijing, I don。ッt what
the IOC will say. It may be necessary to
reform the international wrestling federation
(FILA), but we will keep up our efforts for
the continuation of both men。ッs styles
and for seven weight categories for women
(in the Olympics).
Q: How will you respond if the IOC decides
that in order to keep both styles of wrestling
the number of weight categories must be reduced?
M: We will fight. Wrestling has already reduced
its weight categories from 10 to eight, and
now seven. We cannot agree to any more reductions
than this. Wrestling is limited to 360 entries
in the Olympics. This is 300 wrestlers less
than the number in the world championships.
In terms of countries, that means about 20
countries are not able to take part (in the
Olympics). If reductions must be made, it
should be from sports with a larger number
of events like athletics.
Q: Recently, judo has become more widespread
internationally (than wrestling). A total
of 97 countries took part in the judo world
championships in Osaka in September while
only 70 countries entered the (freestyle)
wrestling world championships in New York
(the same week).
M: If you also consider the greco-roman wrestling
world championships that were held in France
(in October), it might be said that wrestling
is the more widespread sport. The International
Judo Federation provides air tickets to three
people from each country in order to increase
the number of countries entered. It might
be that FILA needs to do the same thing.
Still, there are cases like the recent athletics
world championships (in France in August)
where an athlete from Afghanistan ran the
100 meters in athletic wear something like
pajamas and took nearly 20 seconds. So, we
need to consider whether we let these kinds
of countries enter in order to have a larger
competition or if we want a meet that brings
together the world。ッs top competitors.
Q: It has been suggested that there is a
possibility of using a wild card for Iraqi
wrestlers to compete in the Athens Olympics.
M: We're thinking about it. When asked which
sports they would like to compete in at the
Olympics, Iraq and Afghanistan both answered
wrestling. The wild card is for countries
that did not qualify for the Olympics even
though they wrestled in the world championships
and the Olympic qualifiers. For countries
that did not do that, however, an allocation
of five* invitations can be issued with an
agreement of the IOC, FILA and the Athens
Olympics organizing committee. We are thinking
about this for Iraq and Afghanistan. We want
to support the countries that could not compete
because of war and it is also our duty to
help with the spread of wrestling.
(*Note: According to a FILA communiquィヲ
issued in February, the number of invitations
to be issued by the Tripartite Commission
Q: What is happening with the spread of female
wrestling in the Islamic world?
M: Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey already have
women's wrestling. When Iran takes it up,
then women。ッs wrestling will have a real
world championship. Recently, I asked the
prime minister of Iran "Won't you please
let your women try wrestling?" He answered"We
will think about it. In the future...,"
but he was not specific about when. Still,
compared to the past, the feeling toward
women is changing. In the past, (Iranian
wrestlers) would not compete on a mat that
had been used by the women and we have had
cases in which all of the (Iranian) wrestlers
defaulted. Now, we don't have this kind of
Q: How about the current competition system?
There is no seeding or repechage, so if two
strong wrestlers are in the same preliminary
pool there is no chance for one of them to
advance to a higher place.
M: This is a pending issue for FILA. According
to the regulations, we cannot change the
competition system for the Athens Olympics.
If make a change after Athens, we will not
make a change for another eight years. We
would like to make our decisions after studying
fully a variety of proposals. Personally,
I would like to see a tournament system that
can be completed in one day.