TEHRAN, Iran — Iran is looking to join wrestling’s major powers to stop the elimination of the ancient sport from the 2020 Olympics. Mohammad Aliabadi, the head of Iran’s National Committee of Olympic, is quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Thursday as calling the decision by the IOC executive board “very serious.” He adds, “Resorting to help of many big countries, we will block the decision.” Aliabadi, a close ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, did not name any country. But the independent Etemad newspaper referred to Iran, the United States and Russia as the “Axis” who should confront the “Allies” who seek to axe wrestling from the games.
The vote Tuesday by the International Olympic Committee executive surprised the wrestling world.
Iran won three gold medals in wrestling at the London Games.