New Delhi, 24 August (Agency)
World wrestling’s apex governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for not holding elections on time. This means that Indian wrestlers will not be able to play 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 Championships 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 informed the ad-hoc panel on Wednesday night that the WFI has been suspended due to non-conducting of the executive body elections.” Meanwhile, Gyan Singh, a member of the substance panel, said Bajwa kept him in the dark about the relevant developments and now he has no role in decision-making. However, wrestlers can compete under the Indian flag in the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou from September 23, as the IOA sends the entries, not the WFI. WFI sends entries for the World Championships.
Trial for world championship today and tomorrow
Despite the suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India, the selection trials for the Indian wrestling team for the upcoming World Championships will be held on August 25 and 26 only. Bhupender Singh Bajwa, head of the ad-hoc committee constituted by the IOA, said the trials would be held in Patiala on Friday and Saturday as per the pre-determined schedule. However, he did not say whether fresh information would be issued after the latest developments.