We are ‘following & supporting’ UWW to resolve Indian wrestling issues: IOC

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The International Olympic Committee is “closely” following the developments in Indian wrestling and “supporting” the United World Wrestling in resolving the issue, said the IOC director of communication Mark Adams on Sunday.


The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by United World Wrestling (UWW) for not conducting elections in the given time frame.


Indian wrestlers competed at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September under the UWW flag because of the national federation’s suspension.

Adams, who is here for the IOC Session when asked if the International Olympic Committee had spoken to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or any other officials about the issues concerning wrestling, said, “We are keeping across this one very closely, but the Wrestling Federation (UWW), which is the key interlocutor in this case, and we are following and supporting them (UWW), so I think most of your question is best directed to the Wrestling Federation (UWW).”

The IOA had appointed an ad-hoc committee for wrestling on April 27 following protests by seven wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, who alleged that WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had sexually harassed female grapplers.


The ad-hoc panel was supposed to hold elections within 45 days.


UWW had on April 28 also warned that it could suspend WFI if the deadline to hold elections was not honoured. UWW carried out the threat by suspending WFI on August 24 for not conducting elections on time.


The Returning Officer for holding WFI elections had originally set July 11 as the date for the polls but the Assam association had moved the Gauhati High Court and succeeded in getting a stay on the polls on June 25 and the next hearing was set for July 28.


However, the Andhra state association challenged the decision in the Supreme Court which quashed the Gauhati High Court decision on July 18, paving the way for the conduct of the polls.


The Returning officer then declared August 12 as the new poll date but a day before the elections, Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the process on an application moved by Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA), which was led by Deepinder Singh Hooda before being suspended by WFI.


HWA had challenged the move to allow Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association to cast votes in the WFI polls.


The case continues to be heard in court and no fresh dates for elections have been announced as yet.


The IOC had in May released a statement condemning the detention of protesting wrestlers by the police when they tried to march to the new Parliament building.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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