Wrestling federation to conduct two tournaments, the first activity since controversy over abuse allegations

April 7, 2023, Gonda

WrestlingAsian Wrestling Championships

Reference: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/wrestling/wrestling-federation-of-india-suspension-conducts-tournaments-brij-bhushan-sharan/article66707573.ece

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) announced on Thursday that it would conduct National Championships in the U-17 category as well as the senior Open National Ranking Wrestling Tournament from April 16 to April 18. The tournaments will be conducted at Nandini Nagar, in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.

These will be the first tournaments conducted by the WFI since January 21, when the Indian government suspended all activities of the federation. The suspended assistant secretary Vinod Tomar cancelled all ongoing tournaments and appointed an Oversight Committee to look into the day-to-day activities of the federation, following public protests by India’s top wrestlers who made allegations of sexual harassment and financial impropriety against the WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

According to WFI general secretary VN Prasood, the WFI had resumed their day-to-day functioning earlier this week after the Oversight Committee submitted a fact-finding report into the allegations made against the WFI president.

The Oversight Committee, which was supposed to conduct the day-to-day activity of the federation was originally to have a term of four weeks to submit its fact-finding report. On 23 rd February, this term was extended to another two weeks.

It is learned that the Oversight Committee had sought the help of the WFI in matters including obtaining visas for international tournaments as well as conducting a selection trial to pick a team for the Asian Championships.

“After the Oversight Committee submitted their report to the government, they also submitted bills for legal costs that they incurred in their activities to the WFI. That meant that their role in running day-to-day activities of the federation is over,” Prasood said. The WFI is also sitting at TOPs (Target Olympic Podium) meetings. Now the Federation says it is looking to conduct tournaments as per its calendar. “When the Federation was suspended, we had to stop the National ranking series after the first day of competition. Now we are completing that tournament as well as conducting the U-17 nationals,” Prasood said.

Prasood added that with the players’ allegations primarily being made against the WFI president, there was no restriction on the WFI itself resuming its activities. “The WFI president is still not involved in the day-to-day activities of the federation,” he said.

While Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh might not be involved in the day-to-day activities of the federation, the tournaments, incidentally, are set to be held on the grounds of Nandini Nagar Mahavidyalaya, which he chairs. The college is located in Gonda which lies in the Kaiserganj Lok Sabha constituency from where Brij Bhushan has been elected multiple times as a Member of Parliament.

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