Wrestling body suspends India for poll delay

Thursday 31st August 2023 03:33 EDT

The national anthem will not be played and the tricolour will not go up inside the arena when an Indian wrestler finishes on the podium at the World Championships in Serbia. Indian wrestlers will participate there as ‘neutral athletes’ because the UWW suspended WFI for its failure to hold elections in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against outgoing chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

After its two earlier warnings to conduct elections to the WFI’s new executive council (EC) weren’t paid heed to by the Indian sports authorities, the UWW says it was left with no other choice but to suspend the WFI, leaving the future of Indian wrestlers in the dark.

The World championship is a qualifying event for the 2004 Paris Olympics. The development came on the eve of the selection trials for the Worlds, scheduled to be held in Patiala on August 25 and 26. According to sources, the trials will go ahead as planned and the Indian wrestling contingent for the Worlds will be named in all three categories – men’s and women’s freestyle and greco-roman.

While the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) two-member ad-hoc committee – formed to run the day-to-day affairs of WFI – delayed holding the elections following litigations filed by disgruntled member state units of the WFI, the UWW finally acted tough as the ad-hoc panel had failed to honour its 45-day deadline.

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