IOA, ad-hoc body wait for OCA’s written response
NEW DELHI: Indian wrestling is in a state of inertia. The sports ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and its two-member ad-hoc committee formed to run the day-to-day affairs of the sport are clueless about finalising the Indian wrestling contingent for the upcoming
in Hangzhou – the last date of sending the entries for which is July 23.
Everyone is waiting for the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to respond to the IOA’s request to extend the date to send entries – by names – of Indian wrestlers for the Asiad till August 15, so that the trials for the same can be conducted between August 5 and 15.
However, as TOI understands, there has been no written response from the OCA till Friday evening. IOA only has a verbal assurance from its headquarter in Kuwait City with OCA offering a one-week extension till July 23 to send final wrestling entries for the continental multi-sport event.
The IOA and its ad-hoc body are silent on the trial dates. IOA’s all-powerful joint secretary and acting CEO, Kalyan Chaubey, presided over a high-level meeting with the ad-hoc committee member Bhupender Singh Bajwa and two wrestling experts and an equal number of national coaches at the IOA headquarters here on Thursday to chalk out the future course of action with regards to trials and naming the country’s wrestling contingent for the Asiad.
Sources said the meeting remained inconclusive in the absence of any formal communication from the OCA. The prevalent confusion and lack of communication and clarity has threatened to put the careers of several men and women freestyle and greco-roman wrestlers at stake. They have been preparing for the Asiad for years in their bid to represent the country.
There’s also a sense of discontent within the wrestling community over undue favours extended to the group of protesting wrestlers – Bajrang Punia,
, Sangeeta Phogat,
and Jitender Kinha. The government wants the OCA to extend the trial and selection of Indian wrestling contingent’s dates to felicitate the entries of these protesting wrestlers for the Asiad.
It’s been learnt that the pressure is so much so that IOA president
and Chaubey have flown to Bangkok to hold discussions with OCA’s acting president, Raja Randhir Singh, and its other officials on the sidelines of the OCA’s annual general meeting (AGM) and its elections – scheduled on Saturday (July 8) – to convince them to extend the date till August 15 to accommodate Bajrang, Vinesh & Co’s demand to hold trials by August 10.
Sources informed that the meeting between Usha, Chaubey and Randhir happened on Friday evening, but the details of the meeting haven’t been made public.
Vinesh’s visa woes continues
Vinesh’s training-cum-competition trip to Budapest to prepare for the trials for the Asian Games and World Championships looks in jeopardy as she is yet to receive her visa from the Hungarian embassy in Delhi. The two-time World Championships medallist was supposed to fly out to Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek on July 1 and later to Budapest to attend an international training camp and participate in the fourth ranking series event there, scheduled from July 13 to 16. However, sources have informed TOI that the embassy is yet to process her visa application owing to some confusion on the part of the SAI and ad-hoc body.
Sakshee, Satyawart off to Michigan
The other two protesting wrestlers, Sakshee and her husband Satyawart, have left for Michigan in the USA to prepare for the trials for the Asiad and the Belgrade Worlds. Since both were not part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), their trip was sponsored through the national sports development fund (NSDF).
“Both left 5-6 days back for Michigan. They didn’t want to tell anyone about their training trip to the USA, so it was kept a secret. However, both are training at an Olympic centre in Michigan,” a source confirmed.