United World Wrestling takes action following the Wrestling Federation of India’s failure to conduct elections

WFIBrijbhushan Sharan Singh gives instructions to wrestlers after the selection trials. (Express Photo)

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In another blow for Indian wrestling, the United World Wrestling on Thursday suspended the country for failure to conduct elections.

Indian Olympic Association’s acting CEO Kalyan Chaubey confirmed the development, which means that even though India’s wrestlers will still participate in the World Championships next month it’ll be as neutrals and not under the national flag. Moreover, in case India’s wrestlers finish on top of the podium, the national anthem will not be played.

The world boy has written to the IOA, informing them about the decision. “The IOA has received a communication and will decide the future course of action, including the selection of teams for the World Championships,” an official said.

The selection trials for the World Championship were to be held in Patiala on August 25 and 26. However, the fate of the event is now unknown.

The UWW had threatened to suspend India back in June when it issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the treatment and detention of the protesting wrestlers.

Back then, it had urged the IOA to ‘respect’ the 45-day deadline to conduct the WFI elections. “Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag,” the world body had said.

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On Thursday, the UWW put its words into action. The WFI elections have been long overdue, after the term of its former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment, ended earlier this year.

The polls were postponed twice owing to court orders. Brij Bhushan’s confidante Sanjay Singh and former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran are in the fray to succeed him.

But a day before the elections were to be held – on August 12 – the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a stay order following a plea by two WFI-affiliated units.

First published on: 24-08-2023 at 12:48 IST

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