Anuj Kumar selected for Asian Wrestling Championships after HC's interference
After Delhi HC order, Anuj Kumar was allowed for selection trials and further selected for Asian Wrestling Championships.
Under the Delhi High Court order allowing five wrestlers to participate in the trials, grappler Anuj Kumar has been selected for the coaching camp for the upcoming 2023 Asian Wrestling Championships, the court was informed on Wednesday.
All five athletes participated in the selection trials conducted for the tournament which is to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from April 9 to 14, 2023, the Union government told the court.
The central government counsel made the statement before Justice Prathiba M Singh on a petition by the five wrestlers -- Anuj Kumar, Chander Mohan, Vijay, Ankit, and Sachin Mor --who had approached the high court last month against their exclusion from the trials being conducted by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the sporting event.
Centre's counsel Manish Mohan said in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct and arbitrariness in the WFI, an oversight committee was constituted by the sports ministry which also took up the task of selecting players for international events, prepared the criteria for selection, and circulated the directives on March 1.
In a hearing held on a holiday, the high court had on March 9 permitted the petitioners to participate in the trials and said they shall be allowed to compete and be judged on their own merits.
"In compliance with the directions of the Hon'ble Court as contained in order dated 09.03.2023 in the instant writ petition, the Oversight Committee had allowed all five petitioners to take part in selection trials conducted by Oversight Committee on 10-11th March 2023 for Asian Championship, 2023," the response filed by the Centre said.
"All 5 Petitioners have participated in the selection trials. Based on results of the selection trials, one of the Petitioners namely Shri Anuj Kumar has been selected for coaching camp for the Asian Championship, 2023 scheduled to be held at Astana, Kazakhstan from 9th-14th April 2023," it added.
The government said the oversight committee was headed by Olympic medallist and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna awardee M C Mary Kom which will also enquire into allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and/or intimidation, financial irregularities, and administrative lapses leveled by prominent sports persons while undertaking the day-to-day administration of WFI, a national sports federation.
The response also said there is no direct involvement of the sports ministry in the selection process and national sports federations have to ensure that the selection process is fair and transparent and the criteria are made known to all stakeholders well in advance.
Given the Centre's stand, the court closed the proceedings in the matter.
The petitioners, represented through advocate Rahul Rathore, had earlier claimed before the high court that the selection criteria adopted by the WFI was arbitrary and unfair and had resulted in admitting wrestlers for trials who were either inferior or at best at par with them.
The plea had said Anuj Kumar is a gold medal winner in his category in the National Games held in 2022, an event that is more prestigious than the Senior National Championships conducted by the WFI but only medal winners of the latter are included for the trials. It said Anuj Kumar had defeated most of the wrestlers selected for the trials at the National Games and elsewhere.
Similarly, Chander Mohan, Vijay, Ankit, and Sachin Mor are medal winners in national and international championships but have been unfairly excluded by the "arbitrarily restrictive" criteria adopted by the federation, the plea had added.
It claimed the championship held an important significance leading up to the Paris Olympics of 2024, and its trials were of critical importance in the careers of top-level sportspersons and for ensuring that top-level athletes are promoted to bring glory to the country.
The high court had earlier noted that the criteria excluded a large number of winners and medallists from national and international games and the reason for exclusion was not evident as the petitioners were undisputedly medal winners at several national and international sporting events.