Wrestling champion on hunger strike over axe

Updated: Saturday, 02 Mar 2013 14:02

Double Olympic wrestling champion Armen Nazaryan has decided to go on a hunger strike to protest against the sport's possible exclusion from the Games.

"I'm protesting against the recommendation to drop wrestling from the Olympics," Nazaryan, 38, said.

He said: "Wrestling has always been part of the Olympic programme and it's not right to exclude it from the Games. I'm starting my hunger strike and from now on I will drink only syrup."

Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a surprise recommendation to drop the ancient sport from the 2020 Summer Games.

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"From now on I will drink only syrup" - Armen Nazaryan

The decision has outraged the wrestling community throughout the world, prompting two former champions, Bulgaria's Valentin Yordanov and Russia's Sagid Murtazaliev, to return their Olympic gold medals back to the IOC in protest.

Part of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and all further editions, except the 1900 Paris Games, wrestling now joins seven other candidates battling for one spot in a revamped programme.

The IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to determine which of them will be put to the vote at the IOC session in Buenos Aires in September.

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