Wrestling Federation of India elections hit roadblock

Gun Rights

WFI’s ad-hoc panel to work with just one member for at least a week

IMAGE: Image used for representational purposes. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The three-member ad-hoc committee, tasked to hold Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, will likely work with just one member for at least one more week as one of the representatives, Suma Shirur is away with the national shooting team in Baku, while a retired high court judge is yet to be appointed.

Shirur could not attend the the first meeting of the ad-hoc panel on Monday as she is the national coach for rifle shooting and is currently in the Azerbaijan capital with a 34-member Indian contingent for the ISSF World Cup for pistol and rifle.

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A senior National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) official confirmed that Suma was away in Baku with the contingent.

The World Cup will conclude on May 15 and only then will she be available in person to attend the meetings.

With Shirur away, Wushu Association of India chief Bhupendra Bajwa will likely have to chair a few crucial meetings all by himself till the ace former rifle shooter returns.

The Sports Ministry had on April 24 stalled the scheduled May 7 elections of WFI and asked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to constitute an ad-hoc committee to conduct the polls within 45 days of its formation and also manage the sports body.

The IOA instituted the ad-hoc panel on April 27, including Wushu Association of India chief Bajwa, Shirur and a yet-to-be-named retired high court judge, to run the affairs of the WFI until a new body is elected.

The ministry’s decision came after the country’s top wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, resumed their sit-in protest demanding the arrest of WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh alleging sexual harassment of women wrestlers.

Some of the key decisions that will be taken by the ad-hoc panel, besides holding the WFI elections, include discussing the roadmap for wrestlers in a busy year.

Bajwa deliberated on holding the trials, short-listing athletes for Asian Championships (U-17 & U-23) and drawing the roadmap for the Asian Games with wrestling coaches in the first meeting of the panel on Monday held at IOA Bhawan.

On Tuesday, Bajwa issued a statement that the 2023 U-20 and U-15 National Championships to be held at Pune had been rescheduled and the dates will be “intimated later on”.

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