Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president P T Usha on Tuesday justified the delay in holding the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, saying selection trials for the junior grapplers was a priority for the national sports apex body. The IOA had on April 27 announced that a three-member ad-hoc committee will run the day-to-day affairs of the federation and also hold WFI elections within 45 days of its formation. However it has not yet appointed the third member — a retired high court judge — to initiate the election process.
A two-member ad hoc committee of Bhupender Singh Bajwa and Suma Shirur took charge on May 4 and is carrying out Federation-related work.
The ad-hoc body is looking after the selection trials of U-15 and U-20 wrestlers for the Asian Championship.
The 45-day deadline for holding WFI elections ends on June 17.
“For betterment of kids we prioritised the trials rather than elections of WFI. If we concentrate on elections, the trials will be compromised,” Usha told PTI on Tuesday during her visit to the SAI Centre where the trials are being conducted.
“We don’t want to sacrifice betterment of our kids and we want they should get a fair opportunity to represent on international podium.” She, however, said dates for the election of the WFI will be announced soon.
“The name of the third member of the ad-hoc committee and election dates will be announced soon and we will try to do it with the given deadline of 45 days,” she added without elaborating how the 45 days deadline will be met.
United World Wresting (UWW), the sports governing body, had given a veiled threat that India could be suspended if the time-line of 45 days was not respected.
“I am very happy that it has been successful open trials under ad-hoc committee, 2500 participants are there, everyone got the opportunity.” Bajwa told PTI that the appointment of the third member of the ad hoc committee to initiate election process of WFI was not in his hands and it was to be done by the IOA only.
“The two members are running the WFI and holding selection trials to pick teams for international events. Appointment of a retired high court judge as third member for the WFI elections is not our job. Only IOA can do that,” Bajwa said.
Sources in the IOA said, the apex sports body is waiting for an end to the wrestling controversy before going ahead with the election process.
“IOA is waiting for the final outcome of this controversy surrounding the wrestlers. Once this matter is settled, the ad hoc body will announce WFI elections,” the source said.
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