IOA dissolves wrestling's ad hoc committee, brings back WFI - Hindustan Times

IOA dissolves wrestling's ad hoc committee, brings back WFI

ByAvishek Roy
Mar 18, 2024 10:41 PM IST

The decision comes after the panel recently conducted selection trials to pick the squad for participation in the Asian championships and the Olympic qualifiers

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday dissolved the ad hoc committee for wrestling and reinstated the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

The ad hoc panel was headed by IOA executive committee member Bhupender Singh Bajwa, hockey Olympian MM Somaya and former international badminton player Manjusha Kanwar
The ad hoc panel was headed by IOA executive committee member Bhupender Singh Bajwa, hockey Olympian MM Somaya and former international badminton player Manjusha Kanwar

The newly-elected WFI was suspended by the union sports ministry three days after the federation elections. Following the suspension, IOA, for a second time, formed an ad-hoc panel, led by IOA executive body member Bhupender Singh Bajwa, to run wrestling in the country.

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The three-member ad-hoc panel, under the instructions of Delhi High court, recently organised the trials to pick the squad for the Asian Championships and Olympic qualifiers. WFI officials and coaches oversaw the trials and sent the team entries. United World Wrestling had already lifted its suspension of WFI last month.

"The decision to dissolve the ad hoc committee comes in the light of the lifting of the ban on the WFI by the United World Wrestling (UWW) and the successful completion of selection trials by the ad hoc committee appointed by the IOA and per the directives of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi. Consequent upon the aforementioned developments, there is no further need for running the activities of the WFI through an ad hoc committee," IOA said in a letter to WFI on Monday.

IOA, as instructed by UWW, said it was imperative that WFI "appoint a Safeguarding Committee/Officer at the earliest to address the concerns of abuse and harassment and to ensure adherence to all rules, regulations and guidelines set forth by the UWW and other relevant authorities." It also directed WFI to conduct the elections of the Athletes Commission in a time-bound manner as required by UWW.

IOA's decision comes a day before the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. IOC during its Session in Mumbai had said it was “closely” following the developments in Indian wrestling and supporting UWW to resolve the issue.

The wrestling body was suspended for more than a year now since a protest broke out against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. After elections in December, it came back to power only for the sports ministry to suspend it again over violation of its own constitution. WFI has since met sports ministry officials a number of times and given them assurance that there will be no lapses in governance on their part.

"We are very thankful to IOA for restoring our status. We quickly want to plan a roadmap for Olympics preparation since there is not much time. We want to prepare them well for the Paris Olympics," said WFI president Sanjay Singh.

When asked whether there will be any changes to the current selection policy of the ad-hoc committee for Paris Olympics, he said, "First of all we have to see how many quotas we are winning. We will discuss these things in the WFI meeting."

The selection trials were held last week after orders from Delhi High Court in Patiala and Sonepat. It has already set the ball rolling for final Olympic trials in May to select the Indian team. Vinesh Phogat won the 50kg trials and will try to win a berth for India in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan next month, even as she finished among top-4 in her 53kg weight class that will give her an opportunity to challenge quota winner and world championships medallist Antim Panghal at home in May.

The Delhi High court has listed April 26 to hear the plea by Bajrang Punia, Vinesh, Sakshi Malik and her husband Satywart Kadian to declare the WFI election illegal as the polls were not compliant with the national sports code.

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