UWW Confirms WFI's Exclusive Authority to Select Indian Wrestling Teams

UWW Confirms WFI’s Exclusive Authority to Select Indian Wrestling Teams

The United World Wrestling (UWW) has reaffirmed the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) as its sole “affiliated member” with the exclusive authority to “elect and announce their teams” for international tournaments, including the Paris Olympics qualifiers.

In a letter to WFI President Sanjay Singh, UWW President Nenad Lalovic emphasized that the WFI is responsible for selecting and announcing teams for continental championships, world championships, Olympic Games Qualifying Tournaments, and other international events. Lalovic, who is also an IOC Executive Board Member, clarified that only UWW-affiliated national federations can register for international events.

This clarification comes after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) ad-hoc panel was assigned the task of conducting selection trials for the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier and Asian Championships following a Delhi High Court hearing. The WFI had initially issued a notice to conduct its own selection trials, but withdrew it after the court ruled that parallel trials could not be held.

The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea filed by four protesting wrestlers, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Satyawart Kadian, who challenged the WFI’s notice. They argued that the federation had deliberately issued the notice despite being barred by the Sports Ministry from conducting championships and knowing about the ad-hoc committee’s announcement of trials.

WFI President Sanjay Singh expressed concern that the wrestlers should not suffer and that the country’s interests should be prioritized in an Olympic year. He urged the government to ensure that wrestlers have the opportunity to compete and that the best interests of the nation are served.

The trials for Greco Roman and freestyle wrestlers will be held at SAI Sonipat on March 10, while trials for women wrestlers will take place at NSNIS Patiala on March 11. The winners in the Olympic weight category will represent India in upcoming Olympic qualifiers, including the Asian Olympic Qualifiers (April 19-21) and World Olympic Qualifiers (May 9-12).