IOA releases Asian Games selection policy: Wrestling team to be selected 'before departure'
The new IOA clarification said that India's final wrestling team will be selected 'prior to departure of the team' to maximise chances of medals.
India's Asian Games selection policy for the 2022 edition, as released by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday, has increased the cloud of confusion around the wrestling contingent and the participation of the football teams.
An IOA release said that the wrestling contingent for the Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23, 2023, will be selected just before the depature of the team.
"To maximize the chances of sending the most competitive wrestling team to the Asian Games 2022, the final selection of wrestlers will be made prior to departure of the team for the competition. This approach will enable us to assess the athletes' current form, consider their recent performances, and take into account any last-minute developments that may have impacted the selection process," the release stated.
It was earlier expected that the wrestling contingent would be announced on July 23, based on results of the trials to be held over two days in New Delhi. The Wrestling Federation of India's ad-hoc committee had announced exceptions for Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who would get automatic places in their categories.
Reacting to WFI's announcement, some aggrieved wrestlers like Antim Panghal, who would have contested in Vinesh's category, lashed out at the decision.
The IOA's clarification on the selection criteria adds further confusion to how the team will look.
Furthermore, the IOA stressed that the criteria for sending athletes in team sports like football, basketball, handball and volleyball would be dependant on the basis of rankings.
"In team events, the focus will be on selecting sports that have achieved a top 8 ranking in Asia in the last one year preceding the Asian Games. This approach will guarantee that team sports with a proven track record of excellence and competitiveness in the region gets the opportunity to represent India," the release said.