MOSCOW, Feb.28 (Xinhua) -- Russian wrestlers should not return their medals in protest against the intention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to exclude that sport from the Games, head of Russian Olympic Committee said Thursday.
"We now need to make efforts to persuade the IOC to keep wrestling. The honestly-won Olympic medals must remain with their owners," Alexander Zhukov told reporters.
He called the Russian athletes to undertake mass actions to demonstrate how popular that sport is prior to a meeting of the IOC Executive Committee due in St. Petersburg in May.
Zhukov did not specify what actions the athletes could undertake.
Earlier this week, two Olympic champions in wrestling, namely Russian Sagid Murtazaliev and Bulgarian Valentin Jordanov, announced they would return their gold medals in protest against IOC plans.
IOC said on Feb.11 it would not recommend to include wrestling into the program of the Olympic Games in 2020. The final decision will be made in September at the 125th IOC session in Argentina.
The cities of Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo contest to host the 2020 Olympics.