Wrestling Federation of India suspended by world wrestling body, United World of Wrestling, over failure to conduct elections. The WFI has seen itself being embroiled in controversies, especially since former president Brij Bhushan Sharan was accused of alleged sexual harassment by some wrestlers. The federation was supposed to hold elections in June 2023 but multiple protests kept coming in the way. As a result of the suspension, the country’s grapplers will not be allowed allowed to compete at the upcoming World Championships under the Indian flag.
The Indian wrestlers will have to compete as ‘neutral athletes’ at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships starting September 16 as the ad-hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, did not honour the 45-day deadline for conducting the elections.
The IOA had appointed the ad-hoc panel on April 27 and the committee was supposed to hold elections within 45 days.
UWW had on April 28 warned that it could suspend the Indian federation if the deadline to hold elections is not honoured.
“The UWW communicated to the ad-hoc panel on Wednesday night that WFI has been suspended for not holding elections to its executive committee,” an IOA source told PTI.
Originally, the WFI was to hold elections on May 7 but the Sports Ministry had declared the process as null and void.
The elections have been delayed multiple times with multiple disgruntled and disaffiliated state bodies moving the court, seeking the right to participate in the polls.
The WFI was suspended for the first time in January and then for the second time in May after India’s top wrestlers protested and accused the president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harrassing some female wrestlers. The Indian Olympic Association had to step in and manage the day-to-day affairs of WFI through an ad-hoc committee which is being led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
With PTI inputs
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