WFI selection trials dates in clash with ad hoc panel's - Hindustan Times

WFI selection trials dates in clash with ad hoc panel's

ByAvishek Roy
Feb 24, 2024 10:57 PM IST

Both bodies have given March 10-11 for trials to pick squads for the Paris Olympics qualifying events

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has announced selection trials for the Olympic qualifiers and the Asian Championships in a clash with the dates given by the ad hoc committee for holding trials for these two tournaments.

Sanjay Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief(ANI)
Sanjay Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief(ANI)

The latest circular issued by WFI president Sanjay Singh says it will conduct the trials on March 10-11 at the IG Stadium, New Delhi to select the Indian team for the Asian Championships (Bishkek, April 11-16) and Asia qualifier for Paris Olympics (Bishkek, April 19-21). The ad hoc committee has also scheduled the trials on March 10-11, in Patiala (men) and Sonipat (women).

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The development is likely to create more confusion in the prevailing circumstance. WFI was reinstated by the United World Wrestling (UWW), though it remains suspended by the union sports ministry. The wrestling administration is being run by an ad hoc committee of the Indian Olympic Association.

The world wrestling body's decision means it will accept entries for international tournaments and Olympic qualifiers through WFI.

The sports ministry hasn't commented since UWW reinstated the national body on February 13. The protesting wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, have said they will revive their agitation if WFI led by Sanjay Singh, a close associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is allowed to come back to power. Bajrang and several other top wrestlers are training abroad in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers.

It has been learnt that WFI members met sports ministry officials and requested that the suspension be lifted, pledging to abide by the government's sports code and WFI constitution.

"All the medal winner wrestlers of Senior National Championships at Pune and Jaipur will be eligible to participate in the trials. In addition, all renowned wrestlers are also invited to participate in the trials," said the undated circular. The notice has been issued on WFI letterhead in which 'affiliated to Ministry of Youth affairs and Sports' has been struck off while 'affiliated to IOA and UWW' has been maintained.

The ad hoc committee started the national camp on February 9 at Sonipat (men) and Patiala (women). They will continue till March 31 in the build-up to the Paris Olympics qualifiers.

Two separate senior nationals were held, in Pune (by WFI) and Jaipur (by ad hoc committee) leading to confusion among wrestlers, several of whom participated in both the events held barely a week apart.

So far, only Antim Panghal has secured an Olympic quota place for India, in 53kg. She was given a direct entry for the Asian Championships by the ad hoc committee.

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