Wrestling eyes more women’s classes for Rio Games
Wrestling’s governing body wants the number of women’s weight
categories at the Olympics to increase from four to seven by the
2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Raphael Martinetti, president of the International Federation of
Associated Wrestling Styles, said Friday the International Olympic
Committee previously rejected adding three women’s divisions.
Martinetti said the IOC doesn’t want to go beyond 10,000
athletes for the Olympics. But he said his group will begin a push
in September to persuade the IOC to allow more women’s weight
classes for Rio.
”My understanding is that the potential is absolutely huge for
women’s wrestling,” he said.
Seven weight classes are contested in men’s freestyle and
Greco-Roman wrestling at the Olympics. Martinetti said discussions
about having the same number of men’s and women’s weight classes
started in 2008 in response to a rapidly increasing membership.
The governing body oversees 183 countries, a jump from 130 five
years ago, he said. Of those members, all but Iran offer women’s
”The IOC has agreed to increase the number of categories if it
actually brings something new to the sport, and I think that this
is the case,” Martinetti said.
Martinetti said the federation is open to discussing the
possibility of allowing Iranian women wrestlers to wear head guards
or longer garments in keeping with their beliefs. He said
discussions with Iranian officials have not begun yet.