Jakarta: Wrestling will never lose its place in the Olympics and talk about a dive in popularity is “all wrong”, the sport’s vice-president Akhroldjan Ruziev said.

Wrestling’s Olympic future was in serious doubt when the International Olympic Committee dropped it in 2013 from the 2020 Games, before reversing the decision.

But Ruziev said the millennia-old sport, a staple of the original Olympics in ancient Greece, will only grow under the United World Wrestling (UWW), the name which the rebranded governing body assumed in 2014.

“Wrestling is in a very comfortable position. All that data about the falling viewers in wrestling during the [Olympic] Games was all wrong,” Uzbekistan’s Ruziev, a former Soviet wrestler, said.

“The organisation has gone through a big change. Change for the better. We have an office now in four, five important centres and things are looking bright as ever.”

He added that the aborted move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to drop wrestling was “all political”, without elaborating.