The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has chalked out a comprehensive domestic calendar with a focus on grassroots development, as confirmed by Vinod Tomar, assistant secretary of WFI, on Thursday. With the goal of further strengthening the foundation of wrestling in India, WFI has increased domestic competition in all age groups as well as at the senior level this season.
“Domestic competitions spread out evenly throughout the year will give more opportunities to wrestlers at all levels to evaluate themselves at regular intervals," Tomar told Sportskeeda.
WFI will conduct the Under-15 National Rankings tournament from March 31 to April 2 in Patna.
“We expect more than 600 entries in the inaugural edition of the U15 National Rankings tournament,” Tomar said. “Annually we will have two more U15 competitions for the development of wrestling at the grassroots level.”
As per WFI's new domestic tournament policy, the U15 National Championships and inaugural edition of the U15 Federation Cup will also feature in the 2022 calendar. Similarly, competition in cadet (U17) and junior (U20) age groups has also doubled.
At the senior level, WFI has revived the Federation Cup, which has been dormant for nearly a decade. The Senior Federation Cup will be held in Ranchi from April 15-17.
WFI received an overwhelming response to the inaugural edition of the Senior National Rankings tournament held last November in Uttar Pradesh.
“Top 11 state teams from the 2021 senior national meet, including host Jharkhand, will be eligible to compete in the Senior Federation Cup,” said Tomar.
WFI attracts more sponsors
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Indian wrestlers have had podium finishes at each of the three successive Olympic Games. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, India won silver through Ravi Dahiya while Bajrang Punia won bronze.
According to Brij Bhusan Sharan Singh, president of WFI, the domestic competition system has been reworked to improve the medal tally at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Post the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, several sponsors have shown interest in working with the WFI.
“We plan to invest funds raised through resources for the development of wrestling in India,” Singh said. “The WFI takes nominal entry fees for national competitions, but we provide free boarding and lodging to all competitors and support staff during all national level events.”
The WFI president said the government sanctions financial assistance to organize National Championships in cadet, junior and senior groups. For the remaining national-level competitions, the wrestling body generates funds through its own resources.