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.