WFI suspended by UWW: Indian wrestlers can't participate in World Championships

The international wrestling body suspended the Wrestling Federation of India for not conducting its elections on time

WFI sexual harassment accused and the BJP MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (photo: Getty Images)
WFI sexual harassment accused and the BJP MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (photo: Getty Images)

NH Sports Bureau

In a severe blow to wrestling in India, the United World Wrestling (UWW)— an international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling—has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for failing to conduct elections on time.

The Indian Olympic Association’s acting CEO Kalyan Chaubey has confirmed the development.

Suspension on the world stage means that India’s wrestlers will not be able to participate in the upcoming World Wrestling Championships under the Indian flag. However, they can still participate as neutrals under a white flag.

Controlled by the BJP MP and strongman Brij Bhushan Singh, who is its outgoing president and is facing allegations of sexual harassment and a probe, the WFI has thus far failed to conduct elections despite announcing a schedule many times.

“The IOA has received a communication and will decide the future course of action, including the selection of teams for the World Championships,” an official was quoted as saying by the media.

Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra took to X (formerly Twitter):

Wrestling Federation of India suspended by world wrestling body over failure to conduct elections. Hence Indian wrestlers will not be allowed to compete under our flag. Shame on BJP govt, shame on @YASMinistry for allowing one sexual predator MP to bring sport to its knees.
Mahua Moitra, All-India Trinamool Congress MP

The WFI's elections have been delayed due to litigation as well as a number of controversies that have arisen.

Elections for the federation were last announced for June 2023. However, a series of protests and legal lawsuits from several state units of the WFI put it on hold again. The latest was on August 11, with the elections being postponed by order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court due to a lawsuit filed by the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA).

Four candidates have submitted their nominations for the position of president, including Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's close associate or 'aide' Sanjay Singh from Uttar Pradesh. 

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