Bizarre decision by SAI leaves WFI in catch-22 situation ahead of the U23 World Wrestling Championships

For representational purposes. (©UWW Website)
For representational purposes. (©UWW Website)

In a strange move by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), it has sanctioned only a part of the wrestling team bound for the upcoming U23 World Wrestling Championships. The SAI has asked the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to bear the cost of the remaining wrestlers if they wish to send them to Belgrade for the meet.

The sports national body on Thursday selected seven wrestlers, whose costs will be taken care of by the government. It has further asked WFI to shortlist 17 more to get the benefits from SAI. It has also not cleared some officials, including coaches, for the big-ticket event.

The decision has left the Wrestling Federation of India in a catch-22 situation.

“We were sent a sanction by SAI informing us of their decision yesterday. They have asked us to shortlist 17 more wrestlers,” a WFI official told Sportskeeda.

However, the problem WFI faces is how to nominate the wrestlers. A WFI official questioned SAI’s decision and said "on what basis did they select the seven?"

“All the 30 going to Serbia are gold medallists at the U23 nationals in their respective categories. They are all deserving and should be seen under the same lens. It is just bizzare,” he said.

Even if SAI goes ahead with its plan to send selected wrestlers, the WFI will end up bearing the entry fees and lodging cost. As per the athlete management system (ATHENA) of United World Wrestling (UWW), a national federation has to send its entry for a competition at least a month prior to the meet.

Also Read: Senior Wrestling National Championships dates changed due to logistical reasons

WFI needs to get clearance from SAI to send the team to the U23 World Wrestling Championship. Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has asked the government to look into the matter.

“The president has asked the government to reconsider. We are sending a team for sure, but it is very difficult to select the 17 wrestlers for the benefit. Hopefully, the matter gets solved soon,” the WFI official said.

U23 World Wrestling Championships team

Freestyle: Saurabh, Suraj Rajkumar Kokate, Parvinder, Naveen, Parveen Malik, Vicky, Sandeep Singh, Gurdeshwar Singh, Sahil and Mohit.

Greco Roman: Arsad, Vikas, Neeraj, Ashu, Vikas, Sajan, Rohit Dahiya, Sunil Kumar, Deepanshu, Aryan Panwar.

Women’s: Shivani Pawar, Ankush, Anju, Kitika, Pushapa, Radhika, Nisha, Monika, Divya Kakran, Bipasha

Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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