WFI Clarifies Selection Policy for Paris Olympics, Doors Open for All Wrestlers

WFI Clarifies Selection Policy for Paris Olympics, Doors Open for All Wrestlers

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has clarified its stance on the selection of wrestlers for the Paris Olympics, stating that the doors remain open for all athletes, including Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya.

WFI President Sanjay Singh emphasized that the federation will adhere to its selection policy, which stipulates that the performance of quota-winning wrestlers will be reviewed before a decision is made on holding a selection trial prior to the Paris Games.

“There is no confusion now. The ad-hoc committee is no longer in place, and WFI will follow the rules and regulations of its selection policy,” Singh said. “It states that whoever wins the Olympic berth, their performance will be assessed. If the performance is satisfactory, the same wrestler will go to Paris. Otherwise, the wrestler who is performing well in the same weight class will get an opportunity.”

Regarding Dahiya and Punia, Singh stated that their performances will be evaluated, as will those of all other wrestlers. “There will be no discrimination against anyone,” he added.

The teams for the two Olympic qualification tournaments were selected based on the ad-hoc panel’s selection policy, which allowed the top four wrestlers from these trials to qualify for a final trial in May for the Paris Olympics.

In the 53kg weight class, Antim Panghal has already qualified, while double world medalist Vinesh Phogat is among the contenders to challenge her for Paris. However, Phogat will also have the opportunity to secure a berth for India in the 50kg category.

“Vinesh will be competing in the 50kg Olympic qualification tournament in Bishkek,” Singh confirmed.

At the WFI Special General Meeting in Noida, amendments to the constitution were approved, including age, tenure, and cooling-off period guidelines as per the Sports Code. The 70-year age cap and two consecutive terms (or eight years), followed by a mandatory four-year cooling-off period, will now apply to all WFI executive council positions.

The SGM also adopted a resolution to conduct Athletes Commission elections as mandated by United World Wrestling (UWW). The elections will be held during the Federation Cup in Varanasi from April 24-26.

WFI, which was suspended by the Sports Ministry, discussed the possibility of functioning without government funding. “UWW and IOA have lifted the suspension on WFI. We hope the Sports Ministry also lifts the suspension, but at present, we are not receiving any financial help from the government, so we discussed ways to run the organization,” Singh said.

WFI Secretary General Prem Chand Lohcab, who came from the camp of protesting wrestlers, has not attended any of the three WFI meetings. WFI adopted a resolution that if the secretary general fails to forward proposed amendments to every member of the general council as described in the WFI constitution, the president may authorize one of the joint secretaries to do so.

Aman Sehrawat Overcomes Mental Hurdle to Defeat Ravi Dahiya in Olympic Qualifier Trials

Aman Sehrawat Overcomes Mental Hurdle to Defeat Ravi Dahiya in Olympic Qualifier Trials

The Commonwealth Games trials proved to be a turning point for 20-year-old wrestler Aman Sehrawat. Facing Olympic silver medalist Ravi Dahiya, Aman suffered a humiliating 10-0 defeat. However, this setback ignited a fire within him, as he realized the need to overcome the mental pressure that had hindered his performance.

Inspired by Dahiya, Aman had always looked up to him as a mentor and guide. But to achieve his Olympic dream, he knew he had to break free from the reverence he held for his idol. Since the trials, Aman has meticulously studied the replay of that match, identifying his weaknesses and vowing to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

“I realized I was not competing with a free mind,” Aman said. “I was playing with the pressure of competing against an Olympic medalist. He was dictating the pace, and I was simply getting drawn into his gameplan.”

To prepare for the Olympic qualifiers, Aman stopped sparring with Dahiya and focused on improving his technique and mental fortitude. He drew inspiration from Dahiya’s journey, knowing that if his mentor could overcome adversity to win an Olympic medal, so could he.

“Beating him in the trials was not easy,” Aman admitted. “I have not gone a single day without watching the replay of the CWG trials, including today. I worked on my weaknesses and stopped sparring with him. We were training with different partners.”

Their similar wrestling styles resulted in a thrilling high-scoring bout in the Olympic qualifier trials, where Aman emerged victorious with a narrow 14-13 margin. Despite his triumph, Aman acknowledged Dahiya’s struggles after returning from injury.

“You know it is not easy when you have surgery and do not compete enough,” Aman said. “Ravi gained weight after injury, and it has taken him time to return to the mat.”

Aman is now determined to secure an Olympic quota and continue the legacy of his weight class, which has produced renowned wrestlers like Yogeshwar Dutt and Ravi Dahiya.

Similarly, 22-year-old Sujeet Kalkal carries the weight of representing India in the 65kg category, previously dominated by Bajrang Punia. Despite not facing Punia in the trials, Sujeet displayed composure and defeated Rohit by superiority in the final.

“I have been working on this trial for a long time,” Sujeet said. “I won titles in National Games and National Championships. So, I kept giving myself small goals and prepared along the way for the trials.”

Sujeet’s technical prowess and international experience, including victories over world-class wrestlers, give him confidence in his ability to succeed on the international stage.

“This is a weight class where you need speed, stamina, strength, everything,” Sujeet said. “I am young and still developing my strength and improving day by day. My game is technical like most international competitors.”

Top Wrestlers Headline Selection Trials for Paris Olympics Qualifiers

Top Wrestlers Headline Selection Trials for Paris Olympics Qualifiers

The upcoming two-day selection trials for the Paris Olympic qualifiers and Asian Championships will feature India’s top wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, and Vinesh Phogat. The trials will be conducted by an ad hoc panel in Sonepat and Patiala.

Initially, United World Wrestling (UWW) had raised concerns about accepting India’s entries for the competitions due to the suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) by the sports ministry. However, after a Delhi High Court hearing, the ad hoc panel was authorized to hold the trials.

To ensure official status for the trials and clear India’s entry for the tournaments, WFI has agreed to send officials and coaches to monitor the proceedings. The trials for Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestlers will take place in Sonepat on Sunday, while the women’s trials will be held in Patiala on Monday.

Winners in the Olympic weight categories will represent India in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and World Olympic Qualifiers. Runners-up will compete in the Asian Championships.

Several top wrestlers are returning from injuries, including Ravi Dahiya, Anshu Malik, and Sonam Malik. Antim Panghal, the only Indian to secure an Olympic quota, has received a direct entry to the Asian Championships.

Bajrang Punia, a Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, will need to win the trials to qualify for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers. Vinesh Phogat, who underwent knee surgery, will face a fitness test in Patiala.

Ravi Dahiya and Aman Sehrawat will compete in the 57kg category, while Yash and Sagar Jaglan will battle for the 74kg berth. Deepak Punia remains the favorite in the 86kg category.

In the women’s 59kg class, Anshu Malik and Sarita Mor will face off. Both are world championships medalists, with Malik having defeated Mor at the National Championships in Jaipur.

The selection trials will be crucial for wrestlers aiming to represent India at the Paris Olympics. The trials will provide an opportunity to assess their form and fitness and determine who will represent the country in the upcoming international competitions.

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