NEW DELHI: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on Saturday granted
a one-week extension to submit names of participating wrestlers for the
Hangzhou Asian Games
The IOA had sought time till August 5 but the OCA has set the deadline till July 22 to send the entries to the Asian Games organisers.
The Asian Games begin from September 23.
The one-week extension was granted by the OCA under “exceptional circumstances” after the Indian Olympic Association top brass, including President PT Usha, Senior Vice President Ajay Patel and Joint Secretary Kalyan Chaubey attended the General Assembly of the OCA in Bangkok.
“The IOA officials tried their best but the OCA gave a week’s extension and that too they (OCA) said was being granted under exceptional circumstances. So, this is the final and we have to send names of our wrestlers by July 22,” a source close to IOA ad-hoc committee told PTI.
“They (OCA) do not want to do something exceptional for India only. So, further extension is not possible, this (July 22) is the final,” the source added.
Usha had written to the OCA on Thursday to extend the deadline so that it could provide the six protesting wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, enough time to prepare for the Asian Games and World Championship trails.
Before, Usha’s fresh request, the IOA had asked OCA to allow it to hold trials by August 10.
A huge controversy had erupted when IOA ad-hoc panel exempted the six protesting wrestlers from initial Asian Games trials.
The six wrestlers were conveyed that they will have to compete against the winners of the trials in a one-bout competition to qualify for the Games, a decision which was denounced by other wrestlers, their coaches and parents.
It remains to be seen if IOA sticks to the two-stage trial and doles out the favour to six protesting wrestlers, including Sangeeta Phogat, the wife of Bajrang Punia, Satyawart Kadian, the husband of Sakshi Malik, and Jitender Kinha, or asks all contenders to compete in a single trial.
“The two coaches in the ad-hoc panel, Gian Singh and Ashok Garg, are acting like agents of the six protesting wresters. They have advised the panel that it must hold two-stage trials and if winners of the initial trials refuse to compete against the six wrestlers, then their names should be removed from the list,” said a referee, who attended the Thursday’s meeting of the panel.
“Everyone protested this suggestion. Why should these wrestlers be given any favour. It has to be a fair trial. If IOA will discriminate, then the parents, the coaches of the wrestlers will hit the roads and protest against the discrimination.
“You must find out, whose instructions, these two coaches follow. Sometimes they say, it’s someone from higher-up who is dictating messages to ad-hoc panel,” said the referee, who did not wish to be named.
(With inputs from PTI)