Victorious Indian wrestling team returns to Delhi

New Delhi, Sept.20 (ANI): Members of India's wrestling team, who made the country proud by winning two medals at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, returned home on Friday.

Buoyed by wrestling's re-inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games, the 22-member Indian team of grapplers scripted another success story at the week-long World Wrestling Championships.

It is first time that India has won two medals in the men's events at the World Championship level.

Wrestling coach Satpal Singh expressed his gratitude and best wishes towards the team and also appreciated those who extended their support towards the inclusion of the sport in the upcoming Olympics.

"This is a big achievement. I am happy that wrestling is back in Olympics as there were rumors after London and Beijing Olympics that wrestling will not be included for Olympics and this message came as a shocker to all of us. Amit and Bajrang has performed well. This was much needed; medal came at the right time. We had worked very hard for this," said Singh.

Earlier, world champion wrestler Sushil Kumar lauded the return of the sport in the 2020 Olympic Games after beating bids from rivals squash and baseball or softball in an International Olympic Committee vote.

Wrestling completed an unprecedented comeback on September 8, reclaiming its spot in the 2020 Olympic Games.

An iconic Olympic sport, wrestling featured in the ancient Olympics as well as every modern Game apart from 1900.

Yet it surprisingly lost its Olympic spot in February as the IOC looked to refresh its programme.

Earlier on Tuesday (September 17), wrestler, Bajrang bagged a bronze medal in the 60kilogram freestyle category with an overwhelming 9-2 win over Mangolia's Nyam-Ochir Enkhsaikhan and Amit Kumar Dahiya had won silver on Monday.

"I am feeling very happy. We practiced for the gold medal, but we won silver. But it is still a big achievement for all of us. I will practice harder to achieve more medals in future games," said Bajrang.

As the latest Games entrant, wrestling is the only sport to be guaranteed a spot until the 2024 Olympics, with the 27 others up for review in 2017.

The result marks a sensational turnaround for the sport which overhauled its rules, administration, gender equality policy and operations following its shock exclusion.

The IOC had said at the time, wrestling had failed to modernise, becoming complacent over decades amid waning interest.

Wrestling, which had received glowing support from IOC members, who were stunned by the Executive Board's decision, won an outright majority of votes in the first round.

The sport got 49 of 95 votes, with baseball/softball earning 24 and squash landing 22 votes from the IOC members.

The result was crushing news for both of the other sports that have been trying to win a spot in the Games for as much as a decade.

Baseball and softball, Olympic sports until the 2008 Beijing Games, hoped for a return to the Olympic fold.

Squash, the only one of the three never to have featured in the Olympics, was making its third consecutive bid after failures in 2005 and 2009. (ANI)

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