BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Wrestling will return as a competitive sport to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires voted in favor of reinstating the sport Sunday.
Wrestling garnered 49 votes out of a total of 95, more than double the two other sports that were being considered for inclusion in 2020 and 2024, with baseball/softball receiving 24 votes, and squash 22.
The three sports had been proposed in May and IOC members meeting at their 125th session in the South American country heard the arguments put forward for each before voting to reinstate wrestling at the 2020 games and 2024.
A day earlier, the IOC elected Tokyo to be the host city in 2020, over Istanbul and Madrid.
Wrestling has been a mainstay of every Olympics of the modern era, beginning in 1896, but the sport suffered a setback seven months ago, after several western countries campaigned to get the sport axed to make room for baseball and squash.
The move shocked traditionally pro-wrestling nations, such as Russia and Iran, who formed an unlikely alliance with U.S. wrestling groups to save the sport from being tossed.
Serbia's Nenad Lalovic, who recently became president of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), celebrated the decision and thanked the IOC members for their support.
"With this vote, you have shown that the steps we have taken to improve our sport have made a difference," Lalovic said in a statement issued by the FILA.
"I assure each of you that our modernization will not stop now, " he added.
FILA's Save Olympic Wrestling campaign has "dramatically reshaped one of the world's oldest sports," the federation said, highlighting "innovative rules to encourage competition" and other measures, including "an enhanced social media profile."
The Save Olympic Wrestling page on Facebook has gathered 97,986 likes.