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Delhi High Court issues notice on Bajrang Punia, other wrestlers plea against WFI selection trials

The Delhi High Court issued notice on the plea moved by wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Satyawrat Kadiyan against a circular of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to conduct selection trials for the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 and Asian Olympic Games Qualifier Wrestling Tournament.

Justice Sachin Datta on Monday sought a response from the Centre through the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Wrestling Federation of India and the wrestling federation’s Ad-Hoc Committee. After the counsel appearing for the Centre sought time to seek instructions in the matter, the court listed the case for hearing on Thursday.

The plea filed by the wrestlers sought a direction on the WFI to cease and desist from conducting the national trials as notified through its circulation issued on February 26. It also sought directions to the Centre and WFI’s Ad-Hoc Committee to make the wrestling federation compliant with the National Sports Development Code, 2011, and for conducting the national selection trials for all international events under the Court’s supervision and monitoring.

Reportedly, it is the wrestlers case that the Centre had issued a circular on January 07 restraining WFI from carrying out any activity and that any championships or competitions organized by it will be treated as unsanctioned and unrecognized competitions.

The plea underlined that as per the circular, only National Wrestling Championships for various age categories organized under the supervision of the lOA-appointed WFI’s Ad-Hoc Committee will be treated as sanctioned and recognized championships for wrestling under the Sports Code. It further added that the circular is still in operation with the status quo maintained.

The plea submitted that under no circumstances can the wrestling federation be construed to be a legal, fair and unbiased body to organise a free and fair national trials for international sports events, including the Asian Championships and World Championships.

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