Delhi High Court will decide on Saturday on the exemption of trial for Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat for Asian Games


Delhi High Court said on Friday that wrestler Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia The verdict will be pronounced on July 22 on the petition challenging the exemption from the selection trial for the Asian Games. Justice Subrahmanyam Prasad on Friday reserved order on the pleas of Under-20 world champion Anvil Panghal and Under-23 Asian champion Sujit Kalkal. He said during the proceedings, ‘It is not the job of the court to find out who is better. Our job is to ensure that the process is followed or not.

Bajrang and Vinesh got direct entry

The court said, ‘Heard and reserved the decision. The verdict will be pronounced tomorrow. Phogat (53kg) and Bajrang Punia (65kg) were on Tuesday given direct entry into the Asian Games by the Indian Olympic Association’s ad-hoc committee. Trials for other wrestlers are to be held on July 22 and 23. Panghal and Kalkal have challenged this decision. In the petition filed by advocates Rishikesh Baruah and Akshay Kumar, they have demanded cancellation of this decision of the ad hoc committee. Baruah challenged this decision on several grounds, in which the decision of the Wrestling Federation of India’s general assembly to withdraw the provision of exempting players from selection trials in August 2022 is also a basis.

The lawyer of the ad hoc committee said this

The ad-hoc committee’s counsel, however, said that no such decision was on file. The court asked him to submit an affidavit in its favor. The counsel for the petitioners said that the exemption was not based on any recommendation by the head coaches and foreign expert which is necessary for such an exemption. The court said, “The essence of the matter is that you cannot say that the committee which has selected is working against the national interest and the people who have been selected are so novices.”

Wrestlers reached the High Court regarding the trial exemption given to Bajrang-Vinesh, the last and Sujit filed a petition

Notice to WFI Ad-hoc Committee

Justice said, ‘There is a committee in this. There are six persons in it. Let’s say two are not in it, but four have said that (players chosen) are enough. Why should the court interfere in (Article) 226 (legal proceedings) in the matter of sports when the decision has been taken. On Thursday, the court had asked the ad-hoc committee looking after the functioning of WFI to explain the reasons for exempting Phogat and Poonia from the selection trials. Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, informed the court on Thursday that the selection policy itself gives exemption to certain categories of players. Advocate Anil Soni also appeared on behalf of the Centre.

Selection trial required in all weight categories

As per the guidelines of WFI (Wrestling Federation of India), selection trials are necessary in all weight categories. However, the selection committee will have the discretion to select sportspersons of eminence such as Olympic/World Championship medal winners without trial based on the recommendation of the head coach/foreign expert.

Trials for Asian Games to be held behind closed doors

An ad-hoc committee appointed by the Indian Olympic Committee (IOA) on Friday decided to conduct the Asian Games wrestling trials behind closed doors at the Indira Gandhi Stadium after parents of some wrestlers had a heated argument with the panel members. Some wrestlers and their parents clashed with members of the ad-hoc committee over the exemption given to Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia (65kg) and world medalist Vinesh Phogat (53kg). Wrestlers and their guardians threatened to boycott the trial in protest.

Wrestlers’ families reach the test site

The families of the wrestlers reached the trial venue and argued with the ad-hoc panel, alleging that their decision was ‘unfair’ and ‘unjust’. World Under-20 champion Panghal’s parents and Subhash Kaliraman, father of another wrestler Vikas Kaliraman, got into a heated argument with the members of the ad-hoc panel. Following the incident, the ad-hoc panel decided that entry for the trials would be restricted to all except wrestlers, their coaches and masseurs. Gyan Singh, a member of the ad-hoc panel, said the DCP (deputy commissioner of police) of the area has been asked to keep adequate personnel to ensure that no one enters the hall. The trials will be held as per the schedule and on Saturday, six more women’s categories of Greco-Roman will be selected.

Trials for six men’s freestyle on Sunday

The trials for the six men’s freestyle category will be held on Sunday. Gyan Singh said, ‘The trial will be held tomorrow as the Delhi High Court has not given adjournment order.’ He said, ‘Our job is to conduct trials and whoever ranks first, we will send his name to the IOA. After that it is their job to decide whom they (IOA) want to send to the Asian Games. The wrestling trials for the Asian Games turned into a major controversy after the ad-hoc committee gave direct entry to Vinesh and Bajrang. Vinesh and Bajrang had protested against the outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Top four wrestlers will compete from August 10 to 15

Many young wrestlers like Avinash and Sujit Kalkal were incensed by this decision and challenged the decision in the Delhi High Court, demanding a fair trial. Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik and famous Yogeshwar Dutt, who were involved in the protest against Brij Bhushan, also questioned the decision of the ad hoc panel. Yogeshwar, a member of the IOA’s Athletes’ Committee and a London Olympic medallist, held several meetings with the coach and ad-hoc panel members (Gyan Singh and Ashok Garg) and tried to convince them of the injustice meted out to young wrestlers. Gyan Singh also said that the trials for the World Championships to be held in Belgrade, Serbia in September will be held next month. In this, the top four wrestlers of the current trial will compete between August 10 and 15.


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