UWW Vs WFI: United World Wrestling suspends India following the country’s failure to conduct timely elections. The election to the Wrestling Federation of India has been long overdue even after a strict warning to suspend India by the UWW back in June, when it also condemned the treatment of the protesting wrestlers in the country.
It has been decided to end the membership of the Wrestling Federation of India, due to which now Indian wrestlers will not be able to play under the shadow of the tricolor.
This matter is not just about Wrestling but it is related to all those wrestlers of our country who despite being better wrestlers will not be able to play for the country. Indian players will have to participate as neutral athletes in the upcoming World Wrestling Championship which is going to start on 16th September.
The acting CEO of the Indian Olympic Association, Kalyan Chaubey confirmed that even though WFI was banned, Indian wrestlers could compete in the Wrestling championship that is going to commence from 16 September to 24 September in Belgrade.
Indian wrestlers will have to take part as neutrals in the tournament and if they win to finish on top of the podium, the National Anthem of India will not be played.
Along with India, Russia and Belarus must also participate under the Individual Neutral Athletes Designation. The other two countries were banned because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The world body had threatened India back in June 2023, issuing a strongly-worded statement regarding the country’s inability to conduct elections to its wrestling federation.
UWW also condemned the treatment and detention of the protesting wrestlers against the then president, Mr. Brij Bhushan Singh. Back then, a 45-day deadline was issued by the United World Wrestling to conduct the WFI elections, failing which the body would have to face suspension on the international stage.
On 24 August the world body suspended India from the international wrestling stage when it was the organiser.
It is worth noting that the elections to the WFI have been postponed due to a court order on 12 August when the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a stay order in support of a plea by 2 WFI-affiliated units
It is worth noting that the former president of WFI, Brij Bhushan Singh has been accused of sexual harassment by some of the nation's top wrestlers who demanded his immediate resignation and arrest,
after which there have been no elections in WFI. Currently, an ad-hoc committee is overlooking the day-to-day functioning of WFI, headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
The suspension on Thursday is the third instance this year when the WFI was suspended by the United World Wrestling.
The first suspension order came back in January, then in May when the top-tier wrestlers of the country staged a protest against the then-president alleging him of sexually harassing them and the order on Thursday, this month is the third suspension for India in a single year.