Led by Sonika Kaliraman, a member of the India squad at the Doha Asiad, Indian women wrestlers protested here on Monday, against what they termed, was the unfair selection process of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
Kaliraman alleged the WFI was backing players in the core group, even when they were not the best in the country.
"We are demanding open trials for the Commonwealth Games. The Games are happening in our country, but if local players do not benefit, what is the point," Kaliraman asked.
WFI president, GS Mander, countered her by saying, "The selection policy for the Games has been in place for the last three years. Akhara wrestling is on mud, and while it gives players a great foundation, those who continue in the akhara cannot win at the international level because all competitions are held on mats. This is why we decided that all wrestlers who represent India must be part of the training camps. Sonika left the camp and did not return.
"She was given a chance in February against the second and third-ranked wrestlers in her category, and she lost to both. So, why should she be selected?"
In response to the allegations by Ramesh Kumar (highlighted by HT), that the trials at Sonepat on Sunday were unfair, Mander stood his ground. “After winning the medal at the World Championships, Ramesh went missing. He didn't come for trials or camps, not even for the Asian Championships. Now, he wants to come back. He will have to win trials for selection.”
Teams: Womens' freestyle 48kg: Nirmala Devi, 51kg: Babita, 55kg: Geeta, 59kg: A Tomar, 63kg: S Kundu, 67kg: Anita, 72kg: Gursharan. Mens' freestyle: 55kg: Anil Kumar, 60kg: Y Dutt, 66kg: Sushil Kumar, 74kg: S Dahiya, 84kg: A Choudhary, 96kg: Mossam, 120kg: Rajiv Tomar.