Delhi High Court seeks WFI’s response on wrestlers’ plea challenging exemption - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Delhi High Court seeks WFI’s response on wrestlers’ plea challenging exemption

Jul 20, 2023 09:59 PM IST

The ad-hoc panel had decided to exempt Punia (65kg) and Phogat (53kg) from the trials scheduled for July 22-23.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought to know from the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) the basis of granting exemptions to wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from the trials for the upcoming Asian Games.

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat during a press conference.(Hindustan Times)
Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat during a press conference.(Hindustan Times)

Justice Subramonium Prasad, while issuing notice to WFI on pleas by wrestlers Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal challenging the exemption to Phogat and Punia, observed that the courts cannot allow matters to drift.

"What is the basis of the selection of these two persons other than the fact that they are good sportsmen? Have you done any kind of selection process? The entire case it seems is that there has to be some kind of trial. The petitioners do not doubt the competence or merit of the two wrestlers whom you have selected or representing the country. There is no doubt about it. What they say is that past performance alone cannot be basis for sending them, " justice Prasad orally remarked.

It asked the counsel appearing for WFI to file a reply by Thursday and posted the matter for hearing on Friday.

Appearing for the union government, additional solicitor general (ASG) Chetan Sharma told the court that the selection policy, available on the website, itself provides for an exemption to certain category of players.

The judge asked him to file a status report by Friday with further details on the rules.

The petition by Panghal and Kalkal has sought that the directive issued by the IOA ad hoc committee with regards to the two categories (men's freestyle 65kg and women's 53kg) be quashed and the exemption granted to Bajrang and Vinesh be set aside.

The petition demanded that the trials should be held in a fair manner, without granting any exemption to any wrestler and the process be video graphed.

The ad-hoc panel had decided to exempt Punia (65kg) and Phogat (53kg) from the trials scheduled for July 22-23. Both the wrestlers are reigning Asian Games champions and multiple World Championships medallists.

As per the ad hoc panel's directive, the trials will be conducted in all 18 weight categories, including the 65kg and 53kg but the winners will not compete in the Asian Games, rather they will be standby options.

In their plea filed through advocate Akshay Kumar, the petitioners have claimed there are no foreign experts and the decision to exempt Punia and Phogat has been taken without any recommendations from the chief coaches.

The petition has said that while they have "been working really hard to clinch their position", Phogat and Punia have not participated in any competition this year and were also not part of the national camp.

"Fair opportunity should be granted to the Petitioners and trial should be conducted to decide the selection of Athletes for participation in the Asian Games and no exemption should be granted to any Athlete," the petition read.

The matter would be heard on Friday. The ad hoc committee, meanwhile, said the petitioning wrestlers are contradicting WFI's 2017 selection policy. "They never had an objection earlier. Why are they objecting now?" an official close to the committee said, requesting anonymity.

"Bajrang went to 2017 World Championships without trials. He didn't give a trial for 2022 Worlds either. In 2014, Yogeshwar Dutt went to Commonwealth Games without a trial. So, such things were always happening but no one protested. Why are they protesting now?" the official added.

Meanwhile, about 150 junior wrestlers, their parents and coaches protested outside the IOA building, demanding that the exemption given to Punia and Phogat should be withdrawn. The protest began at around 2 pm and lasted about four hours, Dayanand Kalkal, Sujeet's father, said.

"We demand the exemption given to Bajrang and Vinesh be withdrawn. This is a biased decision and we want to meet the IOA top brass to put forth our grievances," Vikas Bhardwaj, Antim's coach, said.

Dayanand informed that the group was later met by a "senior IOA official" and "assurances were given to address the matter.

Catch all the Latest T20 World Cup 2024 news and Live Cricket Score along with T20 World Cup Schedule and T20 World Cup Points Table related updates on Hindustan Times Website and APPs
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 19, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On