By Jonathan Rest in Tokyo
The International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission came face to face with a senior official of FILA, the governing body for wrestling, which has been provisionally struck off the sports programme for the 2020 Olympics, on Wednesday, the penultimate day of its inspection of Tokyo's credentials for hosting the games of that year.
The evaluation commission, which is chaired by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, an IOC vice president, and includes five other IOC members - Patrick Baumann (Switzerland), Claudia Bokel (Germany), Nat Indrapana (Thailand), Guy Drut (France) and Frankie Fredericks (Namibia) - visited Tokyo Big Sight, the sprawling complex in Tokyo Bay, which would play host to fencing and taekwondo if the Japanese capital wins the right to host the Olympics.
Tokyo Big Site will also be home to the Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre, and would additionally stage wrestling should FILA be successful in getting wrestling back on the Olympic programme after the IOC executive board removed it from the list of core sports for 2020.
The 14-strong commission, with the exception of Gilbert Felli, the IOC Olympic Games executive director who did not join yesterday's inspection party, were greeted at Tokyo Big Site by Tomoaki Fukuda, president of the Japan Wrestling Federation and a vice president of FILA.
There were awkward glances among the commission after Fukuda told them, in full view of local and international media: "In 2020 this venue would host taekwondo, fencing and wrestling... I can only say that I am in a very delicate position now, but I thank you very much for coming."
Away from the IOC panel, Fukuda, who is also vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, told journalists: "FILA wants to follow the standards set by the IOC for the May presentation. There are other sports that are on the block. We will discuss our options with experts and give a strong presentation."
Tokyo 2020 had also arranged for Japanese wrestling legends Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho to be on site to welcome the commission and promote the city's bid.
Yoshida and Icho won three gold medals each at the Athens, Beijing and London Olympics.
Japan won four gold medals in wrestling at London 2012.
Fukuda added: "Today we have to consider the [Tokyo 2020] bid. So this is very complicated and delicate. But just having the gold medallists here leaves a good impression. We hope that they understood this."
The evaluation commission, which wrapped up its four-day visit of Tokyo today, is without Christophe Dubi, the IOC sports director, who has remained in Lausanne.
Dubi will also miss subsequent trips to 2020 candidate cities Madrid and Istanbul later this month, with the IOC said to be keen for him to avoid precisely the type of awkward situation that arose at Tokyo Big Site yesterday.
Wrestling is vying with baseball-softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu to join the 2020 Olympic programme.
The executive board will decide in St Petersburg, Russia in May which sport(s) to recommend for inclusion, and the final decision will be made in a vote of the full IOC membership at its Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September.
It is understood that the executive board is set to recommend three sports to go forward to the vote, one of which is certain to be wrestling, on the basis that, according to the Olympic Charter, it is the Session, made up of all 100-plus IOC members, that makes decisions about the composition of sports on the programme.