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WFI suspension: It will hugely impact Asian Games medal prospects - Kartar

Terming the developments as 'sad', Yogeshwar hoped a quick solution could be found to the crisis

WFI suspension: It will hugely impact Asian Games medal prospects - Kartar

The Indian wrestlers will have to compete as 'neutral athletes' at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships, starting September 16.

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt on Thursday termed the suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India by the international body as "very distressing", while two-time Asian Games gold winner Kartar Singh said it will have "huge ramifications" on India's prospects in major international tournaments.
UWW, the world governing body for wrestling, on Wednesday suspended the WFI for not conducting its elections on time, a development which will not allow Indian grapplers to compete at the upcoming World Championships under the Indian flag.
The Indian wrestlers will have to compete as 'neutral athletes' at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships, starting September 16 as the ad-hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, did not honour the 45-day deadline for conducting the elections.
Terming the developments as "sad", Yogeshwar hoped a quick solution could be found to the crisis.
"It is a very sad thing for Indians in general and wrestlers in particular. If we talk about wrestling in the last 6-7 months, wrestling has been earning a bad name (kushti badnaam hui hai); be it trials or the case of sexual harassment (shoshan ka mamla)," Yogeshwar, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist, told PTI.
"When you talk about suspension of WFI, we have to note that the Asian Games and World Championships are round the corner. Even if our wrestlers win there, our country will suffer because the quota will go to some other nation. It will be a huge loss."

The former grappler hoped for a quick remedy to the crisis and added that only a democratically-elected WFI was the solution.
"I just hope there is a quick solution to the crisis. I suppose elections are the one and only option to resolve the issue. So, elections should be held as quickly as possible, so that wrestlers can also train properly.
"The perpetual suspense the wrestlers are facing today will affect their training and they won't be able to perform. Wrestlers are in a state of distress, thinking what will happen to them, about their future."

He added that it could also seriously affect their performance in World Championships trials to be held in Patiala on Friday and Saturday.
"Wrestlers coming in the trials tomorrow and day after, they will be under stress... what if no solution emerges till the World Championships... then if they qualify also for the 2024 Paris Olympics, it won't be valid."

Yogeshwar urged the Indian Olympic Association and the UWW to find an quick solution to the issue.
"The IOA is discussing the issue with UWW and 'koshish' (effort) will be that wrestles play under the Indian flag."

Yogeshwar added that one individual cannot be blamed for the mess leading up to the suspension of the WFI.
"I cannot hold one person responsible for this mess, from protest to suspension, and the sexual harassment (against outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) case is also in court. So, we cannot comment on that. Whatever decision is taken by the court, we have to abide by it.
"But a solution should have been found by now and the election process should have been completed."

Yogeswar did not agree that a wrestling federation with players as its office bearers is possible, adding that a democratic process was in place to elect the WFI officials.
One of the demands of the six wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, who protested against Brij Bhushan at Jantar Mantar, was that sportsperson should helm the WFI.
"Look elections follow a process. The one who has votes wins. The country's PM, MPs, MLA also get elected," said Yogeshwar.
On how will a solution be found to the latest setback suffered by Indian wrestling, he said, "Well the IOA will speak to UWW and see if there is a middle path because the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the election process till August 28.
"Before that, if there is any Supreme Court order then election can happen. I suppose the Sports Ministry and IOA will have to talk and then discuss the issue with UWW. Only then will things get clear."

Crisis ruining careers, says Kartar


Kartar Singh said the crisis can have irreparable damage to Indian wrestling.
"It is a very big development. Already the election process has been delayed for so long. Delay after delay holding elections is not good. I suppose the next date for hearing is August 28. If that happen, fine. But if something doesn't come out even then, then it will cause irreparable loss to India wrestling.
"Major events are lined up one after the other. Wrestlers are languishing for last 7-8 months, it is really sad."

He said the developments are having a negative effect on upcoming wrestlers.
"Don't know where this fight started and where it will lead us to in the end. Children look forward to U-15, U-17, U-20 championships. They get certificates, jobs, someone gets scholarship, the foundation of wrestling in India is built like that.
"Someone or the other is knowing on the door of the courts. We are not being able to resolve domestic issues, leave alone international performance."

He said the developments will have a huge impact in medals in international arena, including the Asian Games in September.
"Of course, it will have an impact. When your house is not in order, you cannot think what you have to do," said Kartar.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 25 2023 | 10:46 AM IST

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