Paris Olympics doors not closed for any wrestler: WFI - Hindustan Times

Paris Olympics doors not closed for any wrestler: WFI

ByAvishek Roy
Mar 29, 2024 10:08 PM IST

At SGM, WFI acts against the secretary general, and also discusses ways to function at 'No Cost of Govt'

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Friday said the doors are not closed on any wrestler, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya, in their quest to remain in contention for the Paris Olympics.

India's Bajrang Punia during Commonwealth Games(REUTERS)
India's Bajrang Punia during Commonwealth Games(REUTERS)

Bajrang and Dahiya, the two Tokyo medallists, lost in the domestic selection trials for Paris qualification tournaments but WFI president Sanjay Singh said they will go by their selection policy which says performance of the quota winning wrestlers will be reviewed before taking a call on holding a selection trial before the Paris Olympics.

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"There is no confusion now. The ad-hoc committee is not there anymore and WFI will follow the rules and regulations of its selection policy. It says that whoever wins the Olympic berth, his or her performance will be seen. If the performance is good, the same wrestler will go to Paris, or else the wrestler who is performing well in the same weight class will get an opportunity. A trial might or might not take place depending on the situation," he said.

Asked about Dahiya and Bajrang, he said, "Discussion will happen seeing their performances and that goes for every wrestler. There will be no discrimination against anyone."

The teams for the two Olympic qualification tournaments were decided based on the selection policy of the ad-hoc panel following a court order and it said the top-four wrestlers from these trials will be also eligible for a final trial in May for Paris Olympics. It remains to be seen what happens in the 53kg weight class where Antim Panghal has already qualified, while double worlds medallist Vinesh Phogat is among the contenders to challenge her for Paris.

However, Phogat will have the opportunity to book a berth for India in 50kg category too. Phogat won the 50kg trials in Sonepat but there was an uproar as she competed in two weight classes.

"Vinesh will be going to the Olympic qualification tournament in Bishkek in 50kg," confirmed Singh.

WFI acts against secretary general

The WFI Special General Meeting in Noida, where it is also organising the U15 and U20 National Championships, approved amendments in its constitution. It passed resolutions related to age, tenure, and cooling off period as per the Sports Code. The 70-year age cap and two consecutive terms (or eight years), followed by a mandatory four-year cooling off period to be eligible to contest for a third term will be now applicable to all the posts of WFI executive council. All state associations have been asked to follow the age and tenure guidelines of the Sports Code that also include 25 percent seats in their executive committees comprising prominent sportspersons.

The SGM also adopted a resolution to conduct Athletes Commission elections as mandated by United World Wrestling (UWW). The Athletes Commission elections will be held during the Federation Cup in Varanasi from April 24-26. The 25 states have been notified to send two wrestlers each for elections to Athletes Commission as per UWW regulations.

WFI, which was suspended by Sports Ministry, also discussed the “possibilities of functioning at no cost to government”

“UWW and IOA have lifted the suspension on WFI. We hope the Sports Ministry also lifts the suspension but at present, we are not getting any financial help from the government so we discussed how to find ways to run the organisation,” said Singh.

Interestingly, the WFI also deleted a part of the constitution that said, "the Federation shall be guided by the Statues, Rules, Regulations, bye-laws directions and Instructions issued from time to time by the Indian Olympic Association."

WFI secretary general Prem Chand Lohcab, who came from the camp of protesting wrestlers, has not attended any of the three meetings of WFI. WFI adopted a resolution that if the secretary general is not forwarding the proposed amendments to every member of the general council as described in WFI constitution, the president may authorise one of the joint secretaries to do the task.

"The secretary general has not been attending meetings and not fulfilling his role. The president has handed over his responsibilities to a joint secretary in today's meeting,” said an official.

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