Thomas Bach has become the latest member of the International Olympic Committee executive board to praise the reforms of FILA, wrestling's governing body, since the sport was proposed for elimination from the Olympic Games after Rio 2016.
Bach, one of six candidates to replace Jacques Rogge as IOC president on September 10, was part of the executive board that in February controversially suggested dumping wrestling from the 2020 games sports programme.
Wrestling was subsequently shortlisted, along with baseball-softball and squash, for inclusion in 2020 by the executive board in May, and Bach, an IOC vice-president, said at a news conference in Berlin yesterday: "I have the impression that the international federation [FILA] has understood very well the messages sent to them.
"The international federation has drawn its conclusions. It is now here with a new president, new programme and new ideas for the sport. That is why I personally believe that wrestling has good chances to come through the vote in September."
Since the February announcement, FILA has changed its president, with Nenad Lalovic replacing Raphaël Martinetti, passed a string of new rules to make the sport more exciting and introduced changes in the federation's structure, governance and operation.
Last month, FILA held a meeting with Olympic Broadcasting Services, the IOC's host broadcasting arm, to discuss innovations to the television coverage of the sport at the games.
One of his rivals for the IOC presidency, Ukraine's Sergey Bubka, said at a news briefing in London yesterday that FILA had made "fantastic progress, amazing progress" since the February executive board decision.
Bubka said wrestling now "has a new positive and constructive proposal."
The IOC will select 28th sport for the 2020 Olympics on September 8.
Two days later, IOC members will vote for a new president, with Bach facing competition from Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion, Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng, Taiwan's Ching-Kuo Wu and Switzerland’s Denis Oswald, as well as from Bubka.
Bach, who won a fencing gold medal at the 1976 Olympics, is widely considered as the favourite for the post but, naturally, he played down the 'favourite' tag.
He said: "I'm looking forward to the vote and as a sportsman I naturally want to win the competition. I'm preparing myself as best as I can for the 'final competition'. I hope I can win the confidence of my fellow IOC members. But as a sportsman I know that even if the preparations are ideal you can still end up losing on the day of the event. It's going to be an exciting day on September 10.
"I hope the credentials I've built up over the years will help inspire confidence in my candidacy among other IOC members."