United World Wrestling (UWW) suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for failing to hold elections within 45 days. It means Indian wrestlers will not represent their country at the upcoming World Championships. The Indian Olympic Association has received a letter of expulsion from UWW.
Indian wrestlers will compete as “neutral athletes” at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships. However, they can represent India at the Asian Games as the IOA has sent entries. Disgruntled state bodies filing court motions for the right to vote have caused the postponement of WFI elections several times.
United World Wrestling (UWW) bans WFI for failing to hold elections
The WFI was previously in the news because of its former president, Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, whom wrestlers like Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik accused of sexual harassment. The WFI initially appeared to hold elections on May 7, but the Sports Ministry declared the process invalid.
Indian wrestlers won’t participate in upcoming World Championships
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) was suspended by United World Wrestling (UWW), the organization that oversees wrestling, for failing to hold elections within the allotted time. As a result, Indian wrestlers won’t be able to represent their country at the forthcoming World Championships.
Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed by either of the two governing bodies, a source within the WFI told the news agency that the Indian Olympic Association gets the letter of expulsion from the UWW.
Since the ad-hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, did not adhere to the 45-day deadline for holding the elections, Indian wrestlers will now compete at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships as “neutral athletes” beginning on the 16 of the upcoming month.
The wrestlers can appear for India at the Asian Games
However, because the IOA, not the WFI, has sent entries, the wrestlers can represent India at the Asian Games on the 23 of the following month in Hangzhou.
WFI elections get postponed several times
On April 27, the IOA appointed the ad hoc panel, and the committee received the order to conduct elections within 45 days. On April 28, UWW warned that if the election deadline failed to be respected, it could abandon the Indian federation. Several disgruntled and unaffiliated state bodies have filed court motions asking for the right to vote in the WFI elections, causing them to get postponed several times.
WFI bears the cost
The ongoing wrestler protest and different petitions from the various state units caused the WFI elections, scheduled for June, to get postponed. From the beginning of the year, the controversy surrounding the leadership of outgoing WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Singh became the focal point of wrestlers’ protests.
Leading Indian wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia accused the WFI president of sexual harassment and staged protests from January to June.