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Coaches tell IOA ad-hoc panel trial exemption decision has irked wrestling community

The panel of National coaches informed IOA ad-hoc panel running WFI that the trial exemption for wrestlers has irked the community.

Coaches tell IOA ad-hoc panel trial exemption decision has irked wrestling community

U-23 World Wrestling Championships 2022 in Pontevedra, Spain (Source: United World Wrestling)



Updated: 29 Jun 2023 4:11 PM GMT

The top coaches of the country on Thursday informed the IOA ad-hoc panel running the WFI that the decision to exempt six protesting grapplers from Asian Games and World Championships trials has not gone down well with the wrestling fraternity.

The ad-hoc panel head Bhupender Singh Bajwa, in an informal meeting held in Meerut, heard views from national freestyle coach Jagmander Singh, national Greco-Roman coach Hargobind Singh and national women's coach Virender Singh Dahiya.

"The three coaches told Mr. Bajwa that it is aguish among established as well as upcoming wrestlers. People who run Akhadas and the practitioners of the sport are angry at this unfair and biased decision," an IOA source told PTI.

"No decision was taken, but Mr. Bajwa told them that the panel will look into it," the source added.

Bajwa had written, on June 16, to Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Satyawart Kadian, Jitender Kinha, and Sangeeta Phogat that they will compete against the winners of the Asian Games and World Championships trial winners in August.

The wrestlers had claimed that they did not seek exemption but asked for only additional time for preparation. The coaches also discussed the team composition for the upcoming World Cadet Championship, junior and U15 international tournaments.

"It was also discussed that the National camp for both men and women will begin after the Asian Games trials. The men's camp will be held as usual at the SAI centre in Bahalgarh, while the women's camp could be held either in Delhi or Patiala," the source said.

The final date for Asian Games and World Championships trials will be communicated soon.

"The panel now has to decide if the exemption given to six wrestlers should be withdrawn or not," added the source.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is awaiting a reply from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which was approached for a July 15 deadline extension. All participating nations have to submit entries by name to the organizers by July 15.

If OCA accepts the request, then the panel can conduct one trial for all wrestlers in August, and it will put an end to the controversy that erupted due to the exemption given to six wrestlers.

If OCA rejects the request, then the IOA will not have any option but to conduct trials before July 15. Four of the six protesting wrestlers will not be able to compete in the trials then, as they are set to leave for Kyrgyzstan and Hungary training tours in the first week of July.

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