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Opening speech by FILA Acting President Nenad Lalovic at the FILA Extraordinary Congress

FILA
05/18/2013


Hello members of the FILA Wrestling Family.

We are at an important time in the history of our sport. Today we begin to change…to insure our future in the Olympic Movement. What we do today will impact what happens to us as a sport. It will impact us for the next 50 years.

Our sport is good and strong. It has passionate fans…our wrestlers are among the best athletes in the world. We are proud of what we have done…our past goes back to the beginning of man…and woman.

Today we will be proud of our past, but we will talk about our future.

What goes on in this room today and the days that follow will determine if we are an Olympic sport after 2016.

We have been given a strong message by the IOC. How we answer that message will determine if our future includes the Olympic Games. We need to convince the IOC that we will listen to them.

We are strong enough to change.

Strength is what we have in our sport. We now have to show that strength. ..Along with wisdom and a bit of common sense. We need to convince the IOC that we will change…for the better. We will keep our past…and our strength…but we will look toward our future…in the Olympic Games.

There are three dates that are as important as any in the history of Wrestling.

May 29th in St. Petersburg is the first date. The IOC Executive Committee…the same committee that decided that we were NOT going to be a core sport in the Olympic Games…will decide which of 8 sports will go to the full IOC Session.

Sept. 4-5 in Buenos Aires, Argentina is the second date. The IOC full session will determine which one of the sports will be on the program for 2020…and maybe beyond.
But, the third date? That is today. We have to make progress today…we have to be strong, be passionate and we have to determine our future.
We have to go out of this room with a clear idea of what this sport is going to do…who we are going to be.

We have to come together on the Rules of Wrestling. Simplify them, reward the best wrestler. Make them understandable.

We have to talk about weight classes…for men and for women.

We need to decide on our organization…how we will be a federation for all of our family.

There are decisions that we have to make here today that may decide our future, especially our future in the Olympic Games.

Either we make progress or we concentrate only on our World Championships and continental championships and other major events. But, we don’t worry about the Olympic Games because we won’t be a part of it.

Our number one reason for being here today is to save our spot in the Olympic Games. We would not be here in Moscow if that were not the case.

So, I ask you to think about Wrestling in 50 years. I want you to think about all those youngsters in cities, valleys, mountains, beaches…and sold out arenas all over the world. I want them to have that dream. That Olympic dream.

Strength defines this sport. Wisdom and taking advantage of an opportunity determine the champions in this sport. Let us be strong here today. Let us be wise as a family. And let this opportunity be a time we will always remember.

The time our sport took this challenge and won back it’s rightful spot in the Olympic Games.

Please join me in doing that today.

And with that I open this great opportunity as a Family. And I thank all of you for being here today. And I open the Congress in this beautiful city of Moscow.

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