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UWW To Reinstate Wrestling Federation of India After Ban Over Delay in Elections

However, WFI's status is still unclear as it continues to be suspended at the domestic level.

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The ban imposed by the United World Wrestling (UWW) on the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been lifted, subject to certain conditions.

Know more: In order to be reinstated, the WFI has to provide the world body with "written guarantees that all wrestlers will be considered for participation without any discrimination in all WFI events in particular trials for the Olympic Games and any other major national and international events," according to an official post on Tuesday, 13 February.

  • "This non-discrimination includes the three athletes who protested against alleged wrongdoings by the former President," the statement read.

  • The "three athletes" are likely wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik who staged protests against Brij Bhushan Singh – the ex-WFI chief accused of sexual harassment by several grapplers.

Anything else? The UWW on Tuesday also said that the WFI has to re-convene the elections of its Athletes’ Commission.

"The candidates for this commission shall be active athletes or retired for no longer than four years. The voters shall be exclusively athletes. These elections shall take place during trials or any senior national championships where this operation can take place, but no later than July 1, 2024,” the UWW said.

Why it matters: While UWW's decision allows Indian wrestlers to compete in international tournaments under the national flag, WFI's status is still ambiguous as it continues to be suspended at the domestic level.

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What they're saying: “I have held talks with the UWW. I won’t take any names but I will invite the three wrestlers personally for the trials. Every wrestler eligible will be allowed to take part in the tournament,” WFI president Sanjay Singh was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

  • “Since the WFI is responsible for ensuring participation of India’s wrestlers in international tournaments, we will conduct the selection trials as well as the National Championship for junior age groups,” he added.

Look back: The election of Brij Bhushan's close aide Sanjay Singh as the new WFI chief had sparked significant outrage, especially among the protesting wrestlers.

  • Sakshi Malik, India's first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, said that she was quitting the sport entirely.

  • Bajrang Punia announced he would be returning his Padma Shri award in protest of Sanjay Singh being elected the new WFI chief.

  • The Sports Ministry announced the suspension of the newly elected WFI body in December last year

  • An ad-hoc committee was set up by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to manage the day-to-day operations of the WFI, such as holding trials and tournaments.

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