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Wrestling Federation Of India Denied Membership At World Level Over Failure In Conducting Elections

Due to the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) failure to hold the required elections, the United World Wrestling (UWW) has indefinitely suspended the federation’s membership.

The WFI’s elections have been severely delayed due to a number of controversies that have arisen. Elections for the federation, which oversees wrestling in India, were planned for June 2023. However, a series of demonstrations by Indian wrestlers and legal lawsuits from several state units have caused the polls to be continuously postponed.

Indian wrestlers won’t be able to represent their country at the 2019 World Championships because the UWW, the organisation that oversees wrestling, suspended the WFI for failing to hold its elections on time.

The ad-hoc body, headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, did not adhere to the 45-day timeframe for holding the polls, thus the Indian wrestlers will have to compete at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships beginning September 16 as “neutral athletes.” However, because the IOA and not the WFI sent entries, the wrestlers will be able to represent India at the Asian Games, which will begin on September 23 in Hangzhou.

On August 12, there were to be elections for the 15 places on the WFI’s governing board. Four candidates submitted their nominations for the position of president at the Olympic Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday, including close friend and outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s Sanjay Singh from Uttar Pradesh.

From the side of Brij Bhushan, Darshan Lal of the Chandigarh wrestling organisation was proposed as general secretary, and SP Deswal of Uttarakhand as treasurer.

The WFI was suspended twice—first in January, then again in May—after India’s top wrestlers challenged its operation and claimed that Brij Bhushan, the organization’s then president, had harassed female wrestlers. WFI is currently run on a day-to-day basis by an ad hoc committee that was established by the Indian Olympic Association and is chaired by Bhupender Singh Bajwa.

Notably, the United World Wrestling, the sport’s highest authority, threatened to suspend WFI if the elections were postponed.

Both Maharashtra and Tripura will be absent from the elections due to the Returning Officer’s determination that both of the former’s groups’ claims are “ineligible,” and Tripura’s continued disaffiliation since 2016.

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