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March 8, 2015
Nenad Lalovic: 'AIPS was there when wrestling needed it most'

AIPS Young Reporters Timothy Olobulu and Ritah Aliguma speak to United World wrestling President Nenad Lalovic (Photo: Sonja Nikcevic)
by Timothy Obalobulu, AIPS Young Reporter, Kenya
PARIS, March 8, 2015 - “When wrestling needed a friend, AIPS was there at our side," These were the words with which Nenad Lalovic began his address at the 78th AIPS Congress in Paris. The President of the International Wrestling Federation – recently renamed United World Wrestling in order to rebrand its image – now heads an associations which is back in the good graces of the IOC and back on the Olymic agenda after a turbulent year in 2013.

The aftermath of the IOC report after the 2012 London Olympics presented dark times for wrestling fans after the sport was proposed to be struck off from the Olympics beginning 2020. IOC in its post-competition report suggested Wrestling did not do as well in London and should be struck off from the roster starting from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. However, the sport boasting of close to 3,000 years of existence was reinstated back to the Olympics of 2020 and 2024 after a vote was conducted and wrestling received a whooping 49 votes against baseball/softball who got 24 and squash (22).

While addressing delegates at the 78th AIPS Congress at the French Olympic Committee headquarters in Paris on Tuesday morning, United World Wrestling President Nenad Lalovic thanked AIPS for playing a part in their reinstatement.

“AIPS was there when we needed them most. When we had doubts about our future in the Olympics, AIPS made our Olympic dream a reality. We want to thank you for the support you gave us and have always given us every time,” Lalovic said.

World Wrestling then embarked on a journey to change the sport for the better and Lalovic speaking to AIPS after his presentation said: “We changed some rules in the game, brought in a new federation governance and we are on the path to making more changes to make the sport better,”

World Wrestling will have its Executive Committee meeting on March 29 this year and among the things set to be discussed are the new rules which according to Lalovic will make the sport more appealing.

“We want to make the sport watchable and understandable by making the rules simpler but the refereeing stricter. Those who watch the sport for the first time should be able to go home understanding it better and these are in some of the proposed rules we have set out,” he said.

“We will roll them out for the first time during the U23 European Championships in Poland and definitely they will also be in force during the European games in Baku. The changes will mostly revolve around the scoring methods. There are many other reforms that we have proposed to better the sport,” he added.

He has also exclusively disclosed to AIPS he has plans of opening up a coaching academy; “Besides the United World Wrestling Training

Centres in Morocco, Brazil and Bulgaria, I want to open up a coaching academy but we are yet to decide where exactly. It would be very important to not only empower the wrestlers but their coaches as well. This will improve the sport in both dimensions,” he added.

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