Indian wrestlers will not be able to compete under the national flag in the upcoming World Championships after United World Wrestling (UWW), the world governing body, suspended Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
The Indian competitors will compete as ‘neutral athletes under UWW flag’ and their winnings in the event, beginning September 16, won’t reflect on the medals tally under India’s name.
The suspension was imposed after the WFI ad hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, failed to conduct elections on time.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had appointed the ad hoc panel on April 27 and it was supposed to conduct elections within 45 days. The deadline expired, over two months ago in June.
“The UWW has sent a letter to WFI informing that it has been suspended for not holding elections on time,” a source aware of the development told Patriot.
The wrestlers, however, will compete at Asian Games under India flag.
The WFI elections were supposed to be held last on August 12 after being postponed earlier. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a stay a day before the proposed August 12 elections.
The wrestling body has witnessed controversy in recent times with its former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh being forced to step aside by the Union sports ministry following allegations of sexual exploitation.
Top wrestlers like Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik sat at Jantar Mantar twice this year to protest, seeking removal of the president.
The second protest, lasting 35 days, came to an end on May 28 following action by the police.