United World Wrestling suspends Wrestling Federation of India for not conducting fresh elections

The wrestlers, though, can compete under the Indian flag at the Asian Games, since it's the IOA that has sent entries and not the WFI.

Payal Debnath
New Update
United World Wrestling suspends Wrestling Federation of India for not conducting fresh elections

The Indian wrestlers will have to compete as 'neutral athletes' at the Olympic-qualifying World Championships. Image- DNP India

United World Wrestling (UWW) has suspended the membership of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) indefinitely for not conducting its elections on time, a development which will not allow Indian grapplers to compete at the upcoming World Championships under the Indian flag. The reason behind the non-election of the post of president has come to the fore. WFI elections mired in several controversies have been largely postponed. The federation was to hold elections in June 2023.

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WFI's membership has been suspended indefinitely by the United World Wrestling over it's failure to conduct elections. Image- The Economic Times

The WFI was first suspended in January and again in May after India's top wrestlers protested its functioning and accused its then-president Brij Bhushan of sexually harassing women wrestlers. The day-to-day affairs of the WFI are currently being managed by an ad-hoc committee constituted by the Indian Olympic Association headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing president of the Wrestling Federation, was accused of exploitation by women wrestlers. There was uproar from Delhi's Ramlila Maidan to Uttarakhand. The wrestling federation had to postpone the elections several times due to protests by wrestlers and legal petitions by several state units.

The elections for 15 posts in the governing body of WFI were to be held on August 12. On Monday, four candidates, including Sanjay Singh, a close aide of outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from Uttar Pradesh, filed nominations for the post.

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While Darshan Lal of Chandigarh Wrestling Association was nominated for the post of general secretary, SP Deswal of Uttarakhand was nominated for the post of treasurer from the Brij Bhushan camp. Now, due to the delay in elections, United World Wrestling has canceled the membership of Wrestling Federation of India.

Notably, the United World Wrestling, the governing body of the sport at the highest level, warned WFI of suspension if the elections were delayed. Maharashtra and Tripura will not have any representatives at the elections as the Returning Officer deemed claims of both factions from the former "ineligible", while Tripura has remained disaffiliated since 2016.

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