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FILA has 177 member nations, compared to 108 for modern pentathlon.

Modern pentathlon, which has been on the Olympic program since the 1912 Stockholm Games, was created by French baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement.

It also benefited from the work of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the son of the former IOC president who is a UIPM vice president and member of the IOC board.

“We were considered weak in some of the scores in the program commission report but strong in others,” Samaranch told the AP. “We played our cards to the best of our ability and stressed the positives.”

Klaus Schormann, president of governing body UIPM, lobbied hard to protect his sport’s Olympic status and it paid off in the end.

“We have promised things and we have delivered,” he said after Tuesday’s decision. “That gives me a great feeling. It also gives me new energy to develop our sport further and never give up.”

The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for 2020, but it is extremely unlikely that it would be voted back in so soon after being removed by the executive board.

The other sports vying for a single opening in 2020 are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu, a martial art.

“Today’s decision is not final,” Adams said. “The session is sovereign and the session will make the final decision.”

Wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year’s London Olympics, with Russia dominating the podium but Iran and Azerbaijan making strong showings. Women’s wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games.

Tuesday’s decision came via secret ballot over four rounds, with 14 members voting each time on which sport should not be included in the core group. IOC President Jacques Rogge did not vote.

Three sports were left in the final round: wrestling, field hockey and modern pentathlon. Eight members voted against wrestling and three each against the other two sports. Taekwondo and canoe kayaking survived the previous rounds.

“I was shocked,” said IOC board member Rene Fasel of Switzerland.

“It was an extremely difficult decision to take,” added IOC Vice President Thomas Bach of Germany. “The motivation of every member is never based on a single reason. There are always several reasons. It was a secret vote. There will always be criticism, but I think the great majority will understand that we took a decision based on facts and for the modernization of the Olympic Games.”

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