Wrestling trials from July 20 after 'unofficial' assurance from OCA, claims ad-hoc panel member
Following efforts made by the Indian Olympic Association's ad-hoc committee for wrestling, the OCA is reportedly contemplating extending the deadline
The trials to short-list the wrestlers for the Asian Games will likely take place around July 20 after an "unofficial" assurance was given by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) with regard to extending the deadline for sending entries by names to the organisers of the quadrennial extravaganza.
The OCA has set July 15 as deadline for sending entries by name to the Asian Games organisers but following efforts made by the Indian Olympic Association's ad-hoc committee for wrestling, the OCA is reportedly contemplating extending the deadline.
But assurances apart, the duration of relaxation has so far not been shared with the ad-hoc panel.
Gian Singh, a member of the ad-hoc panel, told PTI that, "There is so far no mail from the OCA (regarding granting extension) but unofficially they have said that they are willing to relax the dates for sending entries by name. But they have not confirmed the duration of the relaxation. Until we get a confirmation, we cannot say whether they will extend it by 10, 12, 15 days or more.
"However, without delaying the process any further, we will announce the dates for the Asian Games trials by Monday (July 10) and they will likely be held around July 20," he said.
The IOA had requested the OCA to extend the deadline to send entries to the Games organisers to August 10 so that it could provide the protesting wrestlers enough time to be ready.
Six wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, among others, had requested the sports ministry to grant them additional time to prepare for Asian Games trials.
They had contended that they are not in good physical shape to appear in trials due to their 38-day long protest against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The ad-hoc panel, on its part, had exempted them from Asian Games and World Championships trials and made it a one-bout affair, a move that invited criticism from all quarters.
Gian said the wrestlers will be given adequate time to plan their preparation and arrival for the trials.
"We will give at least 10 days' time to the wrestlers to prepare for the trials. Grapplers will come from across the country, so we need to give them at least 10 days to prepare," he added.
He also said the ad-hoc panel was exploring the possibility of sending the names of the six wrestlers -- who took part in the protest -- for the Asian Games as reserves.
The logic behind the move is that if they win the one-off bout in August against the winner of the trials, they could be accommodated in the Indian contingent.
"We explored the possibility of sending two entries per weight category for the Games. But, apparently, that is not possible. There is, however, a provision for sending names of reserves.
"The six wrestlers who had sought more time for trials will then be included as reserves. So, we will send one confirmed entry and the names of the six grapplers who had sought more time would be put on the reserves' list. There is a provision for sending the names of three male and three female wrestlers as reserves," he added.