Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha on Tuesday defended the delay in holding the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) selection, saying junior grapplers’ selection trials were a priority for the national sports apex body.
The IOA had announced on April 27 that a three-member ad hoc committee would manage the day-to-day affairs of the federation and conduct WFI elections within 45 days of its formation. However, a third member — a retired High Court judge — is yet to be appointed to start the selection process.
A two-member ad-hoc committee comprising Bhupender Singh Bajwa and Suma Shirur took charge on May 4 and is handling the work related to the federation.
The ad-hoc body looks after the selection trials of U-15 and U-20 wrestlers for the Asian Championships.
The 45-day deadline for conducting WFI elections ends on June 17.
“For the betterment of children, we prioritized the trials over the elections of WFI. Focusing on the elections will compromise the trials,” Usha told PTI on Tuesday while visiting the Sai Center where the trials are being held.
“We don’t want to sacrifice the betterment of our children, we want them to have a fair chance to represent on the international stage.”
However, she said the election dates for WFI will be announced soon.
“The name of the third member of the ad-hoc committee and the election dates will be announced soon and we will try to do it within the given 45-day deadline,” she added, without elaborating on how the 45-day deadline would be met.
The United World Resting (UWW), the sport’s governing body, had threatened to suspend India if the 45-day schedule was not met.
“I am very happy that it was a successful open trials under the ad-hoc committee. There are 2500 participants and everyone got a chance.”
Bajwa said PTI That the appointment of the third member of the ad hoc committee to initiate the selection process of the WFI is not in his hands and should be done only by the IOA.
“Two members conduct the WFI and conduct selection trials to select teams for international events. It is not our job to appoint a retired high court judge as the third in the WFI selection. Only the IOA can do that,” Bajwa said.
IOA sources said they are waiting for the wrestling controversy to end before proceeding with the election process.
“The IOA is awaiting the final outcome of this controversy surrounding the wrestlers. Once the matter is resolved, the ad hoc body will announce the WFI elections,” the source said.