Sports

Wrestling will be back, says Victoria's long standing coach

The International Olympic Committee voted wrestling out for the 2020 Games and beyond on Tuesday. The caretakers of the Games put the sport to the curb despite it being an original part of the modern Games, which started in 1896.

It came as a surprise to most in the wrestling community. Especially with reports wrestling is unlikely to find its way back in.

The vote does have to be ratified in September, near about the same time either Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo will be named host of the 2020 Games.

“Most of the wrestling is in Russia and the (Middle East), and I can see them just going crazy,” said local coach Ed Ashmore.

As the pillar of the local wrestling community, Ashmore has kept the sport alive in Victoria, having coached it here since 1964.

He helped Victoria athletes Taras Hryb (Munich 1972) and Clark Davis (Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988) go to the Olympics, and sent multiple athletes to provincial and national titles.

“I’m not overly excited about the vote but my gut feeling is it will get back in again,” Ashmore said.

“The Olympics are getting too big, way too costly, and too many events. Wrestling is the original but one of the things is it needs to be more exciting. They try to make it that way, but the average joe doesn’t watch it, maybe the finals.”

Wrestling has seen better days in Victoria and there are currently only two high school wrestling teams, Esquimalt High and Reynolds secondary. Everyone else has the option of wrestling with the Victoria Commonwealth Bulldogs out of Cedar Hill middle school, a team started by Ashmore.

Among those on the Bulldogs are a pair of brothers, Donovan and Michael Huynh, cousins of Olympic gold medallist Carole Huynh. Ashmore’s hope is that the Olympic decision won’t affect wrestling numbers here in Victoria, at least in the short term. But over time, it could lead to more government cuts funding to wrestling, Ashmore said.

The high school provincial wrestling championships take place in Duncan, Feb. 28 to March 2.

sports@vicnews.com

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