The IOA’s ad hoc wrestling body gets to work | More sports news

NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association‘s (IOA) ad hoc two-person committee tasked with overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) held a marathon meeting with head national coaches, referees and other stakeholders IOA Bhawan here on Monday.
The committee discussed the resumption of national men’s and women’s camps, which have been suspended since the second week of April due to ongoing protests by the country’s leading wrestlers, and the hosting of selections for the Asian Games scheduled for later this year in Hangzhou, China.
This was the ad hoc panel’s first formal meeting with people associated with the association since it assumed responsibility for WFI.
The IOA body will not only govern the WFI, but also conduct the elections for the new Executive Committee (EC) within 45 days of its inception. The committee was formed following the IOA Executive Committee (EC) meeting here on April 27th. The panel consists of its EC member Bhupender Singh Bajwa and Sportsman with Distinguished Merit (SOM) Suma Shirur.
It has been announced that the committee will soon send a proposal for the resumption of the camp to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which will then issue a formal notice.
According to sources, the camp could be organized in Delhi and not at the SAI center in Sonepat to allow the protesting wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik to attend while continuing their agitation against Singh, which kicked off on Monday into its 15th day.
The committee also discussed hosting the trials for the Asian Games under its oversight at the IGI Stadium here before June 15 and not leaving the matter in the hands of the new WFI EC, which fears taking coercive action against the protesting wrestlers, to get them to discredit the sport. The body has decided to hold the trials for the U17 and U23 Asian Championships on June 10-18 in Bishkek at the IGI Stadium on May 17-19.
One of the mandates of the ad hoc body is to ensure the selection and participation of athletes in international events. The wrestlers are calling for the dissolution of the WFI and all of its affiliated state/district entities, as they fear Singh would attempt to rig the federation’s elections through his proxies, who hold key positions on all member bodies.
Sources said Singh planned to put his younger son, Karan Bhushan Singh, a senior vice-president in the current WFI EC, at the helm and ensure he is appointed head of the federation in the upcoming elections.

Sybil Alvarez

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