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Read to Know: The Reason Why wrestlers are Permitted to Compete Under the Indian Flag in Asian Games but not in World Championships

7 October 2023

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The UWW, the organisation that oversees wrestling worldwide, has dissolved the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for failing to organise elections by the deadline for which it had been previously forewarned. The ad hoc commission of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, did not hold the WFI polls within the allotted 45 days.

As a result of this decision, Indian wrestlers will compete against neutral competitors in the World Championships beginning on September 16 rather than under the Indian flag. Indian wrestlers will be considered neutral athletes following the revocation of the body because the wrestling organisation selects the name for the World Championships via trials. But that won't be happening in Hangzhou, China, for the 19th Asian Games next month.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), not the World Wrestling Federation (WFI), will send the applications for the wrestlers to compete under the Indian flag at the Asian Games. The athletes won't compete as Indian wrestlers in any of the competitions in which WFI will have a direct role and will instead be impartial.

The news was released the day prior to the Worlds trials in Patiala, which, according to the chairman of the ad hoc panel, Bajwa, will go on despite WFI's suspension. According to the schedule, (the trials will proceed)," Bajwa was reported as stating by PTI on Thursday, August 24.

According to an IOA source, the suspension of WFI was announced to the special panel on Wednesday night. "The UWW communicated to the ad-hoc panel on Wednesday night that WFI has been suspended for not holding elections to its executive committee," a source from the IOA informed PTI.

The elections were originally scheduled to take place on May 5 but were postponed beginning with the wrestlers' outrage at Jantar Mantar in Delhi against the departing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on sexual harassment charges. It appeared that the elections were eventually going to take place on August 12 but they were postponed again, and now the suspension is indefinite. The IOA formed an ad-hoc panel on April 27 and the following day, UWW's warning emerged.
 

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