FILA announces new weight classes

Wrestling's international governing body announced Tuesday that men's freestyle and Greco-Roman will each lose a weight class between light and heavyweight ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

FILA had previously ruled to cut the men's divisions from seven to six so it could add two women's weight classes, thus ensuring a 6-6-6 split among the three disciplines.

The move toward increased gender equity came as FILA worked with the IOC over the past year to ensure wrestling remained on the Olympic program. The sport was dropped from the list of Olympic core sports in February, but was reinstated in September after changes intended to modernize wrestling.

The changes will go into effect on Jan. 1.

"We want to make changes that make the sport better," FILA president Nenad Lalovic said. "If we need to change, we will. Our goal is to be excellent in everything we do."

FILA said male freestyle wrestlers will compete at 57 and 65 kilograms rather than at 55, 60 and 66 kilograms, like they did at the recent London Games.

In Greco-Roman, the two lightest classes are now 59 and 66 kilograms. Freestyle middleweight will remain 74 kilograms, followed by 86, 97 and 125 kilograms for heavyweights. Greco-Roman wrestlers will also compete at 75, 85, 98 and 130 kilograms.

Women's freestyle was introduced for the 2004 Olympics and competed at 48, 55, 63 and 72 kilograms in London last summer. They will wrestle at 48, 53, 58, 63, 69 and 75 kilograms in the 2016 Games. That should help open up competition in an emerging sport that has been dominated by Japan.

It's not all bad news for male wrestlers: FILA has added two weight classes to all three disciplines for its competitions, including the world championships.

FILA events will feature an 8-8-8 format, with 61 and 70 kilograms added to the men's freestyle. Greco-Roman FILA events will have 71 and 80 kilogram-classes, and women will also compete at 55 and 60 kilograms.