Budding wrestlers battle waterlogging conditions during Federation Cup U17 bouts in Delhi

Housekeeping staff cleaning the mat as water trickle down from the makeshift tent during the Federation Cup U17 Wrestling Championship in Delhi on Thursday. Photo credit Navneet Singh
Housekeeping staff cleaning the mat as water trickles down from the makeshift tent during the Federation Cup U17 Wrestling Championship in Delhi. Photo credit Navneet Singh

The Delhi Amateur Wrestling Association (DAWA) was entrusted with the task of conducting the two-day 2022 Federation Cup U17 National Wrestling Championship for upcoming wrestlers. However, autumn rain exposed the functioning of the state unit headed by Olympian wrestler Jai Prakash here on Thursday (September 22).

The two-day competition is being organized in the women's freestyle and men's Greco Roman and freestyle weight categories and will conclude on Thursday.

The national level competition was being organized outdoors on a makeshift structure on the football ground at Jasola’s Delhi Development Authority Sports Complex on the outskirts of Delhi. Constant downpours caused the budding wrestlers to battle inclement weather conditions in addition to their rivals.

Due to wet conditions, the mat became slippery and the athletes struggled to maintain their balance during the bouts, it was observed.

Due to heavy rain in the morning session, the temporary tent couldn’t keep water from trickling down on the two wrestling mats being used for competition. Despite the housekeeping staff's continued efforts to keep the mats dry, constant heavy downpours meant the wrestlers had to wait for a long time.

Jai Prakash, president of the Delhi wrestling unit, said there are no indoor facilities at the DDA Sports Complex in Jasola. He spoke to Sportskeeda on the sidelines of the Federation Cup U17 competition here on Thursday and said:

“That was the main reason makeshift wrestling structure was made to organize the national level age group competition.
“We had made ample arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Federation Cup U17 Wrestling Championships but rain played spoilsports.”

Young wrestlers struggle to warm-up due to waterlogged conditions

It was a challenging task for the budding wrestlers to do warmups due to waterlogged conditions as the continued downpour made the football field slippery and soggy. The competitors were seen warming up in a space adjoining the competition arena.

A national level coach spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said:

“Organising national level wrestling competition in wet and damp conditions isn’t the best advertisement for the Olympic discipline.”

Since there wasn’t proper place for warmups, several wrestlers weren’t able to give their best. A female wrestler told Sportskeeda after her 49kg bout:

“I could have done better in my preliminary round but wasn’t able to do a good warmup.”

The warmup area was outside the main competitive arena and due to the wet outfield, it became difficult for wrestlers to make use of it. A senior coach said:

“The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) should announce its annual calendar in January.” The state units that don’t have indoor facilities shouldn’t be allotted national level competitions.”

Vinod Tomar, assistant secretary of the WFI, wasn’t available for his comments.

Edited by Puranjay
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