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UWW asserts support for WFI, won't accept entries for international events from any other entity

UWW said it would accept only entries sent by the WFI for the international competitions. The latest UWW directive came amidst the Delhi High Court ruling that barred WFI from hosting selection trials.

UWW asserts support for WFI, wont accept entries for international events from any other entity

Representative Photo: Wrestling Mats


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 March 2024 5:30 AM GMT

United World Wrestling (UWW), the global governing body for wrestling, asserted support for the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). UWW announced that it would only accept entries for international competitions from the WFI, emphasizing that no other entity can perform this role on behalf of the federation as per PTI.

This decision from UWW came in the wake of a ruling by the Delhi High Court, which instructed an ad-hoc panel appointed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to organise trials for the upcoming Asian Championships and Continental Olympic Qualifiers and urged the WFI to withdraw its circulation for the trials.

The court's ruling came after a plea was filed by elite wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik. The wrestlers argued that the WFI, currently suspended by the Sports Ministry, should not conduct trials.

Nenad Lalovic, president of UWW, reiterated its stance in a letter to WFI president Sanjay Singh.

Lalovic emphasised that only UWW-affiliated WFI has the authority to send entries for international competitions.

He stated, "It is the responsibility of the national federations regularly affiliated to UWW to select and announce their teams. This is in line with the principles enshrined in our rules and regulations, and no other entity may take this role on your behalf."

The lifting of WFI's suspension by UWW on February 13, 2024, after validating the elections conducted by the Indian federation, further solidified UWW's support for WFI as the sole entity authorised to represent Indian wrestling in international competitions.

This decision has raised further concerns about the participation of Indian wrestlers in the upcoming Asian Olympic Qualifier in Bishkek from April 19-21 as the high court has barred WFI from conducting the selection trials.

A source from the UWW told PTI, "Now that the suspension has been lifted, UWW is not bound to accept any other sports body or court ruling since it wants its affiliated units to work as an autonomous body."

In light of these developments, the ad-hoc panel has decided to hold the trials on March 10-11 in Sonepat for men's and Patiala for women's wrestlers.

India has secured only one quota place for the Paris Olympics so far, courtesy of Antim Panghal in the women's 53kg category. This situation has brought Indian wrestling into a deeper crisis, with uncertainties looming over the fate of the country's participation in crucial international competitions.

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