IOA’s ad-hoc committee faces criticism after allowing special trials to protesting wrestlers for Asian Games 2023

The wrestlers — including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Satywart Kadian among others — earlier urged for time to be fit for the trials as they were underprepared following months of protest against former Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

In the past, the elite wrestlers were at times granted exemption from trials given their hectic schedule to compete in international tournaments and to help them stay fit for the big-ticket tournament. In the recent past, Bajrang and Ravi were handed direct semifinal entries into the Commonwealth Games trials and were followed by exemption from World Championship trials due to the tournament’s proximity post CWG.

However, the recent decision faced criticism from some quarters as they feel nothing has changed as they saw the ad-hoc committee’s decision as a favour while drawing parallel with WFI.

“It was being portrayed that the protest was to bring about a change in Indian wrestling. But I fail to understand, how. The same things are being repeated. A few wrestlers are getting favours. Earlier, it was WFI which was favouring these wrestlers by giving them exemptions and now this ad-hoc body,” said the father of a wrestler.

“Anyway, what can we do about it? We are ready for a fight. But it is not fair that these wrestlers compete in just one bout and our children have to go through a full draw. Ye log to bas malaai khaana chahte hain (These top wrestlers just want cream of everything),” he added.

Meanwhile, an official who was associated with the previous WFI set up, said, this move further proves their point that the top wrestlers all the time want to skip trials.

“They always had a problem with WFI’s fair policies. They never wanted to come to Indian team through trials. We honoured their unjustified demands because they are top wrestlers but they are still making the same demands. It proves our point, they want to control over WFI matters,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

With inputs from PTI

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