Wrestling ad-hoc panel to hold U15, U20 Nationals for 2023 in Jan-Feb this year

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-PTI

The IOA ad-hoc committee, managing wrestling in the country, will organise the U-15 and U-20 National championships for the previous year in January-February to ensure grapplers don’t lose out on one precious year of competition.

Hundreds of young grapplers had marched to Jantar Mantar here on Wednesday, venting their ire at Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat for “spoiling one year of their careers by holding up wrestling activity in the country with their protests”.

The three top wrestlers have been protesting since January last year, demanding action against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whom they accuse of sexually harassing women grapplers.

“The ad-hoc committee for Wrestling Federation of India intends to organise the 2023 U-20 and U-15 National Wrestling Championships (FS/GR/WW) in January-February of 2024,” said the IOA-constituted ad-hoc panel, headed by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, in a statement on Thursday.

“The age criteria for the participants has been kept as if the (national) championship would have been organised in the calendar year 2023, ensuring that there is no loss to any player due to conducting the championship in January/February 2024.”

“The participants will get all the benefits, as if the championship was organised in calendar year 2023,” said the statement.

The newly-elected WFI body under Sanjay Singh had announced the U-15 and U-20 Nationals before December 31 last year in order to save one full year of the junior wrestlers, but the body was suspended by the Sports Ministry just three days after it took charge.

Hundreds of young grapplers, on the verge of turning 16 and 21 years of age, have been sweating over the “wasted” one year as medals won at National Championships can get them government jobs and other incentives.

The ad-hoc panel also said that the Nationals for calendar year 2024 will be held separately at a later date.

“It is also clarified that the 2024 U-20 and U-15 National Wrestling Championships (FS/GR/WW) will be organised in the calendar year 2024.”

Featured Image: ETV Bharat

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