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Wrestling’s Ad-Hoc Committee Announces Plans To Conduct National Championships

IOA-appointed ad-hoc committee also organised camps for senior wrestlers, with Olympic qualifiers coming soon.

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Wrestling
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Amid uncertainty about the future of wrestling's governance in India, the three-member ad-hoc committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced plans to organise national championships for U15 and U20 categories within the next six weeks.

Here’s everything you need to know about this development:

What Is the Ad-Hoc Committee?

The ad-hoc committee was constituted on 27 December, after the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) suspended the newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) executive committee, alongside its president, Sanjay Singh.

The three-member committee is chaired by Bhupinder Singh Bajwa, who also serves as the president of the Wushu Association of India. The other members of the committee are former badminton player Manjusha Kanwar, and former hockey player MM Somaya.

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What Did the Ad-Hoc Committee Announce?

On 3 January, the ad-hoc committee made a few crucial announcements via a press release, the most important of which was to conduct national championships for U15 and U20 categories within the next six weeks. The competitions will be held in Gwalior’s Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education.

“The Committee acknowledges the concerns raised by the young wrestlers and is committed to address the issues. The Committee is planning to organize the national championships for the U-15 and U-20 categories within the next 6 weeks at LNIPE, Gwalior,” the press release read.
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Why Is This Announcement Important?

The announcement comes at a time when many wrestlers in India are staring at an uncertain future, caught in a crossfire between the WFI committee and the IOC-appointed one.

Despite being suspended by the ministry, Sanjay Singh and his supporters have refuted the formation of the IOC-appointed committee, and have stated they will proceed with their own plans for conducting national championships.

While eminent wrestlers like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have opposed the appointment of Sanjay Singh, who is believed to be a close aide of the former chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, junior wrestlers staged protests against the trio in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, accusing them of affecting their futures.
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What Other Steps Did the Ad-Hoc Committee Take?

Besides planning to conduct the national championships, the ad-hoc committee mentioned the steps they have taken over the past week, which include:

  • The committee selected a 13-member Indian team for the upcoming Zagreb Open tournament, scheduled to be held in Zagred from 10-14 January. Albeit, many elite wrestlers including Bajrang Punia and Antim Panghal will not be competing in this tournament, owing to varied reasons.

  • The ad-hoc committee also stated that they scheduled the conduct of February’s senior national championships.

  • Lastly, the committee stated that with the Olympic qualification competitions set to commence in April, they have organised national camps in Sonepat and Patiala.

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