What's the story?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that India will not be penalised as a result of China pulling out of the Asian Wrestling Championship 2020.
Previously, there was speculation that the Wrestling Federation of India was in danger of facing legal action after the country reportedly breached the Olympic charter by refusing to grant visas to the Chinese wrestlers and officials. It was further reported that the country could even be banned from hosting international events.
The heart of the matter
However, it has now been learned that India will not face any penalty regarding the matter. Contrary to popular opinion that the WFI may be in trouble, the IOC stated that China had voluntarily pulled out of the Asian Wrestling Championship due to the coronavirus epidemic.
As per The New Indian Express, an IOC official stated at a press conference:
"We understand the current situation with the coronavirus has affected the normal functioning of the Indian Embassy in China, which has led to the Chinese team deciding not to participate as the event is not a qualifier for Tokyo 2020."
Speaking on the matter, India's Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had earlier stated:
“We cannot deny visas to citizens of any country because it is against the Olympic charter. We try to keep sports away from politics. But the situation now is regarding a major health concern and there are separate provisions for that. We can’t discriminate with anyone but cannot ignore serious issues as well."
It was a good day for India on the first day of the Championship as Greco-Roman wrestlers impressed at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi. Arjun Halakurki bagged a bronze medal in the Men's 55 kg event, but the highlight of the day was Sunil Kumar's elusive gold medal win in the Men's 87kg category that ended India's long wait for a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Meanwhile, Chinese shooters have also withdrawn from the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Shooting World Cup that is scheduled to be held in New Delhi between March 15 and 26.
Concurrently, more Greco-Roman wrestling will be contested at the Asian Wrestling Championship on Day 2 of the flagship event.Published 19 Feb 2020, 11:31 IST