Delhi HC to pass judgement on Vinesh, Bajrang direct entry to Asian Games
The plea had been submitted by under-20 World Champion Antim Panghal and under-23 Asian Champion Sujeet Kalkal
The Delhi High Court on Friday said that it will pronounce its judgement on July 22 on a plea by Under-20 World Champion Antim Panghal and Under-23 Asian Champion Sujeet Kalkal, who have challenged the direct entry given to wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia in Asian Games, exempting them from the trials.
Justice Subramonium Prasad, who was hearing the arguments, reserved his order and said that he will pronounce it on Saturday.
It is to be noted that the trials will end on Sunday.
However, the judge said that he will not deal with the issue of who is a "better wrestler".
"We will only see if the procedure has been followed or not," the judge said.
On Thursday, the court had asked the ad-hoc panel responsible for the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) affairs to clarify the reasons behind exempting Phogat and Punia from the Asian Games trials.
Justice Subramonium Prasad had asked the WFI to present their response during the day and said that if the selection basis is fair and reasonable, there would be no issue. The court asked about the laurels earned by the two selected players.
It is the petitioners' case that there should be a trial for the selection process rather than solely relying on past performance.
The Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Centre, had submitted before the court that the selection policy allows for exemptions for certain players, particularly iconic athletes such as Olympic/World Championship medalists, based on recommendations from the Chief Coach/Foreign Expert.
However, the petitioners' counsel had contended that the selection of Phogat and Punia did not adhere to the exemption policy mentioned by the WFI.
Phogat and Punia were directly selected for the Asian Games by the Indian Olympic Association's ad-hoc committee, while other wrestlers were required to compete in selection trials on July 22 and 23 to secure their spots in the Indian squad.
Panghal and Kalkal have demanded a fair selection process for the two categories (men's freestyle 65kg and women's 53kg) and sought to set aside the directive issued by the IOA ad-hoc committee granting exemptions to Phogat and Punia.