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UWW to recognize Wrestling Federation of India after confirmation from IOA

United World Wrestling has asked the Indian Olympic Association to ratify the Wrestling Federation of India elections for suspension removal.

UWW to recognize Wrestling Federation of India after confirmation from IOA

Logo for the Wrestling Federation of India


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 Jan 2024 3:59 PM GMT

United World Wrestling clarified on Friday that the suspension would be revoked only if the Indian Olympic Association gives a 'formal confirmation' and all stakeholders cooperate for a safe environment.

UWW Chief Nenad Lalovic in his letter IOA ad-hoc committee running WFI said that UWW will give recognition only if the IOA and WFI co-operate with the wrestlers.

Several Olympic qualifying events are lined up this year with woman grappler Antim Panghal being the only one from India to have secured a Paris 2024 berth, while the others have disappointed because of a lack of training camps and competitions for more than a year due to protests by Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat.

The three top wrestlers are demanding the arrest of former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually harassing women grapplers.

"The WFI and the IOA are requested to cooperate so that the athletes are not prejudiced and are duly entered in international UWW events under the same conditions as detailed in our suspension letter of August 23, 2023. We thank you for your attention and collaboration for the sake of all wrestlers in India," said the UWW president in his letter.

UWW also said it was "well-informed" about the newly-elected WFI under Sanjay Singh and was waiting for IOA to confirm the results of the elections.

"UWW has been well-informed of the results of the Wrestling Federation of India's elections held on December 21, 2023, under the supervision of a former judge of the Delhi High Court."

"UWW requires a formal written confirmation by the respective National Olympic Committee (Indian Olympic Association), whereby it recognizes and confirms the results of the elections and the names of all new office bearers."

"This letter serves as a formal request of such written confirmation by the Indian Olympic Association," he added.

The president also said UWW will require a "robust plan" from the stakeholders guaranteeing a "safe environment" where grapplers can report abuse and harassment, and a clear hearing process is in place.

"Considering all the circumstances and allegations that led to this situation (suspension of WFI by UWW), UWW additionally requires that a detailed and robust plan is submitted for approval to ensure that all athletes can practice their sport in a safe environment," he added.

Several junior wrestlers protested against the suspension of the newly-elected WFI by Sports Ministry while the newly-elected WFI is planning to move to the court to challenge the suspension.

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