Bajrang files petition in Delhi HC, wants stay on WFI trials - Hindustan Times
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Bajrang Punia files petition in Delhi HC, wants stay on WFI trials

By, New Delhi
Feb 29, 2024 10:02 PM IST

WFI had, on Monday, announced trials for the twin competitions on March 10 and 11 in Delhi's IG Stadium.

Rejecting Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) invitation to participate in selection trials for the Asian Championships and Olympic Qualifiers, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia has moved a joint petition in Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the trials.

India's Bajrang Punia celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony (REUTERS)
India's Bajrang Punia celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony (REUTERS)

WFI had, on Monday, announced trials for the twin competitions on March 10 and 11 in Delhi's IG Stadium. While the Asian Championships will be held from April 11-16, Olympic qualifiers are scheduled from April 19-21. Both competitions will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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Sanjay Singh-led WFI remains suspended by the sports ministry since December but United World Wrestling (UWW) lifted the ban on February 13. The federation's daily operations are still run by the three-member ad hoc committee.

WFI's list of participating wrestlers features Punia in his 65kg class where he'll face stiff competition from the Haryana duo of Vishal Kaliraman and Sujeet Kalkal. Double world championships bronze medallist Vinesh Phogat has entered in the non-Olympic 55kg class. So far, only Antim Panghal (53kg) has clinched an Olympic quota for India.

The petition, it has been learned, has been filed by Punia, Phogat, Sakshi Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadian and the matter will be heard on Friday. Malik, a Rio Olympics bronze medallist, announced her retirement soon after Sanjay's panel won WFI polls while Kadian's name doesn't feature among the participants.

"I don't understand how a sports body suspended by the Indian government can issue a circular and announce the trials. Why is the government silent? We will appear in the trials only if the ad-hoc panel or the government conducts it. How can a suspended body announce the trials?" Punia was quoted by PTI.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Singh and WFI secretary general Prem Chand Lochab met senior sports ministry officials earlier this week to decide the roadmap to end the WFI impasse. While the ministry is likely to issue a statement soon, it is understood that the selection trials will go ahead as planned.

"It was a very fruitful meeting and it was decided that the trials called by Sanjay Singh will go as per the schedule. The suspension will also be lifted in due course especially with UWW already on our side," a senior WFI official said.

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