HomeSportsElection Controversies Rock Wrestling Federation leading Indian Wrestlers to Miss Tricolour, Anthem...

Election Controversies Rock Wrestling Federation leading Indian Wrestlers to Miss Tricolour, Anthem in WC

Another blow to the Indian Wrestling Federation. In the upcoming World Championships, Indian wrestlers will miss the opportunity to raise their national flag and listen to their anthem. As the United World Wrestling (UWW), on Thursday, suspended India’s membership for failing to conduct elections.

The latest update was verified by Kalyan Chaubey, interim CEO of the Indian Olympic Association. Despite this, Indian wrestlers can still compete in the upcoming World Championship as neutrals, but without the national flag. Even if they secure top honours, the national anthem won’t be played.

In January 2023, Indian global wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and more, initiated a protest. They demanded the dissolution of the federation, alleging sexual harassment of female wrestlers by Brij Bhushan, BJP MP and president of the Wrestling Federation of India. Following government inaction, protests recommenced in April 2023.

Back in June, the UWW released a strong statement condemning the treatment and confinement of demonstrating wrestlers in New Delhi, threatening potential suspension.

Activists and student unions protest in support of wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

The World Federation Elections

The WFI elections, initially slated for June, were repeatedly postponed due to extensive protests from various sectors, including wrestlers. Subsequently rescheduled for August 12, the elections faced a setback when, a day before the scheduled date, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a stay order in response to a plea from two WFI-affiliated units.

Despite substantial delays, the WFI elections remained pending following the tenure of their former president, Brij Bhushan Sharan who faced accusations of sexual harassment and whose term ended earlier this year. Consequently, the UWW’s prior warning took effect on Thursday, resulting in the suspension of India’s membership.

The World Championship selection trials were initially planned for August 25 and 26 in Patiala. Nevertheless, the fate of the event remains uncertain at present.

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