HASSAN Shahsavan's world was rocked this month following the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) plan to dump wrestling from the 2020 Olympics.
The two-time Olympian said he was "shocked and saddened" by the news which will have huge ramifications for the sport worldwide.
The IOC's decision to drop wrestling as one of the core sports of the games means it joined others - baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu - vying to be selected as an "additional sport" in September.
Shahsavan said he didn't understand how one of the original Olympic sports could be axed in favour of a new sport.
"Wrestling's not very popular here in Australia but in eastern Europe and in my homeland of Iran it's our national sport," he said.
"It would be the equivalent of telling Australians that swimming is no longer an Olympic sport."
Now semi-retired Shahsavan, 36, works as a wrestling coach at Bulldog Gym, Parramatta.
There he trains Australia's next generation of wrestlers with Mehrdad Shahsavan (Carlingford), Iman Makavi, Castle Hill and Mostafa Rezai Fav (Merrylands) all touted for future representative honours.
"It's a real pity because as it stands these wrestlers won't have the opportunity to represent Australia at an Olympics," Shahsavan said.
Shahsavan explained that being an Olympian was the ultimate honour as fans support athletes no matter which sport they compete in.
"At the Beijing Olympics I had hundreds of school children writing to me with sending letters of encouragement."