united world wrestling decision – India The News


The United World Wrestling (UWW), the apex governing body of world wrestling, has rejected the Wrestling Federation of India for not holding the elections on time. (WFI), which means Indian wrestlers will not be able to compete under the Indian flag in the upcoming World Championships. Indian wrestlers will participate as neutral players in the World Wrestling Championships starting on 16 September. The World Championship is also a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics. The ad-hoc panel headed by Bhupinder Singh Bajwa was given a deadline of 45 days to hold the elections but failed to adhere to it. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had on April 27 appointed an ad-hoc panel to look into the functioning of wrestling. The world body’s decision came a day before the trials for the World Championships in Patiala. The UWW warned on 28 April that it could suspend the Indian federation if the deadline for holding elections was not met. IOA sources said, “The UWW told the ad-hoc panel that the WFI has been suspended for not holding the executive body elections.” The Indian women’s team recently won the team title at the U-20 World Championships in Amman, leaving behind countries like Japan and USA. This happened for the first time in the history of Indian wrestling. Wrestlers earned points then because they were representing their country but now in the Senior World Championships to be held in Serbia, Indian players will participate as neutral players and their performance will not be counted as the performance of the Indian team. Wrestlers, however, can compete under the Indian flag in the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou from September 23 as entries are sent by the IOA and not the WFI. WFI sends entries for the World Championships. The WFI elections were earlier to be held on May 7 but the Sports Ministry declared the process invalid. The elections were postponed several times as several dissident and unaffiliated state units approached the courts to regain the right to participate in the polls. The Returning Officer fixed July 11 as the date for the WFI elections but the Assam Wrestling Federation moved the Gauhati High Court and succeeded in getting the elections stayed. Andhra Wrestling Association challenged this decision in the Supreme Court. The top court cleared the way for the elections by setting aside the Gauhati High Court’s decision. The Returning Officer announced that the WFI elections would be held on 12 August but the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed them on a petition by the Haryana Wrestling Federation.

Hardly anyone would have been surprised by the suspension of the Indian Wrestling Association, a victim of politics and factionalism. Brij Bhushan, the former head of the Wrestling Federation of India, and the famous wrestlers of the country are going through the courts after being removed from the headship of the association as a result of the riot earlier this year, while many of the famous wrestlers are also facing active politics. Because they could not practice, their future is also at stake. The government and the union could not take any specific action even on the allegations leveled by women wrestlers.

Had the Government of India taken the dispute going on in the Indian Wrestling Association seriously in the beginning, perhaps the suspension of the Wrestling Association would not have come to the fore. It is the country’s misfortune that in the game in which Indian players had established their presence at the world level, today the same wrestling association, being a victim of its factionalism and politics, is putting the interests of Indian wrestlers at stake. The Government of India should immediately intervene in the matter of Wrestling Federation of India and find an immediate solution to the problem.

– Irwin Khanna (Chief Editor, Dainik Uttam Hindu)

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