Wrestling Federation of India fears SAI's cold response to national camps
The national federation says it had requested the Sports Authority of India to host national camps for men and women before the senior World Championship, but their request for one-month camps was not considered
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) fears that the SAI's "cold response" to holding long-duration national camps may peg the sport back and depriving coaches Sujeet Mann and Jagroop Rathi of the Dronacharya honour, despite the awards committee's recommendation, is the humiliation of highest order.
The national federation says it had requested the Sports Authority of India to host national camps for men and women before the senior World Championship in Oslo and also before the Under-23 Worlds in Belgrade, but their request for one-month camps was not considered.
"We are getting an impression that SAI is not interested now in hosting national camps for the required time periods. They are asking why camps are required throughout the year. If that becomes the case, it is going to hurt the sport badly," WFI secretary general VN Prasood told PTI. "They allowed only a 10-day camp before the Oslo Championship and after initially showing reluctance for a camp ahead of the U23 event in Belgrade, one week before the tournament they asked about it again. Now, what do you do in one week," he added.
WFI sources said the SAI wants to focus on promoting the Khelo India camps only and that's why the "snub".
"Recently, Rs 50 lakh equipment was bought for the wrestling national camps. When are you going to utilise them if the players will not be at camps but train at their own akharas," said one official, who did not wish to be named. "Probably SAI wants that wrestlers should be there at camps organised at Khelo India Centres. But I am telling you no one is going to go there. And training at akharas, individually, is also not a good option for the long term. We have better coaches at national camps."
Another official said that long-duration camps were introduced in 2010 to prepare for the Commonwealth Games and when results started to follow, it became a norm. "Everybody can see the results since 2010. Indian wrestling has only gone up in the last decade. National camps are required throughout the year and if the duration is reduced, it will hurt the game. There is a possibility that WFI may consider hosting the national camps on its own if SAI continues with the trend." SAI Director General Sandeep Pradhan could not be reached for comment since he is unwell.
SAI had also recently refused to bear the cost of six out of 30 wrestlers participating in the U-23 Worlds, leaving the WFI to foot the expenses.
Dropping Wrestlers from Awards List
Senior India coaches Sujeet Maan and 70-year-old Jagroop Rathi were recommended by the Sports Awards Committee for the Dronacharya honour but the sports ministry dropped the names while finalizing the list.
"This has happened for the first time that names have been dropped after recommendation by the committee. This is the humiliation of the highest order. It has never happened. It seems wrestling is being singled out for discrimination," said Prasood.
Maan, 42, has been at the national camps and travelled with the Indian teams for the last decade while Rathi too is a respected name in the fraternity. He had travelled with the team as a coach during the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games and had trained the likes of Kripa Shankar and Satyawan.
"We were not even informed that our names are being dropped. People began congratulating us after the names were recommended. Still, people are calling us but what do we say. It is so embarrassing," said Maan, who was with the U-23 team to Belgrade for the Worlds. It has been learnt that Rathi has moved the Delhi High Court against the decision.
Major Policy Change for Olympic Selection
The WFI is set to discuss a major policy change, where the quota winners for the Olympics will be asked to appear in trials before the Games. Till recently the quota winners' places were not touched, but it is expected to change now. The WFI feels it would keep "everyone on toes".