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Entries first, trials later: Indian wrestling body runs into controversy

Wrestling body, Wrestling Federation of India, will send names for World Championships first, and will conduct trials later.

Entries first, trials later: Indian wrestling body runs into controversy

Srijanee D. Majumdar

Published: 15 Aug 2019 2:45 PM GMT
While the wrestling fans look set to witness the scintillating Sushil Kumar in action once again, one ponders over the partisanship ensued at the selection trials for men's wrestling championships in the 74kg category. The much-awaited trials are scheduled to be held next week, but what comes as a surprise is the federation sending entries for both men's and women's championship trials to the tournament organisers even before the trials take place. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is now embroiled in a controversy raising a stink at a time when the Tokyo Olympics is around the corner. The last date for sending entries for the Championships, a qualifying event for Tokyo Olympics next year, was today. The wrestling body is believed to forward the list of competing wrestlers to the organisers today, including the name of two-time Olympic gold medallist Sushil Kumar in the 74kg category. In the wake of a mega-sporting extravaganza like the Olympics, the federation's decision raises eyebrows on the wrestling body's genuineness of the much-awaited trials to be held on August 19 (women's freestyle, at the SAI centre in Lucknow) and August 20 (men's, at the IGI Stadium in Delhi). Adding to the sense of injustice to the sport and the federation's high-handed ways is the unfamiliarity donning the United World Wrestling (UWW).
Speaking to the TOI, a federation source said, “We have told the UWW that nine of our wrestlers, including Sushil, are fit. They will submit their fitness certificate on August 19 and 20. We have informed the world body that if there are any changes in the names sent on August 15, that will be purely on medical grounds, fitness, etc. We haven't told the UWW that we are conducting trials after the last date for submission of names has expired. The UWW won't accept the entries and reject them all."
"So, let's say if we are sending Sushil's name...assuming that he'll win the trial comfortably, then his entry will remain. But in case he loses, then we will update the system with the name of winning wrestler, telling the UWW that Sushil has been declared unfit and this particular wrestler in his weight category has reported fit for the championships," the source explained.
The trials, otherwise, postponed due to injuries of other wrestlers in the 74kg weight category, including Parveen Rana who hurt his shoulder during an exposure trip to Turkey, will be held along with the non-Olympic categories on August 20. Interestingly, Sushil will not face Rana during trials as the latter has opted out. It is believed that Amit Dhankar, too, has pulled out of the trials which escalate the probability of a fiery bout between Sushil and Jitendra. While the national camp will be the focus, all eyes will be on multiple Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar. He will contest in the 74kg trials for a spot in the team for the Worlds, to be held in Kazakhstan next month.
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