IOA Writes to Olympic Council of Asia to Delay Selection Trials for Wrestlers

Credit: PTI

In a significant move, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), led by PT Usha, has written to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to request an extension of the Asian Games trial date, so that the protesting wrestlers could be brought back within the fold of active competition. The letter, which is in possession of RevSportz, states:


“Dear M.r Husain Al Musallam,


Greetings from the Indian Olympic Association
INDIA June 16, 2023
The Indian Olympic Association with consent of the United World Wrestling has formed an Ad Hoc Committee for the Wrestling Federation of India to manage the affairs and also conduct the election. Today, we have received an email from Mr. Bhupender Singh Bajwa, Member Ad- Hoc Committee forwarding a communication from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India along with a copy of the letter from six prominent wrestling athletes – namely – Vinesh Phogat / Bajrang Punia / Sakshi Malik /Satyawart Kadian / Sangeeta Phogat / Jeetander Kumar) requesting to conduct the selection trials for Asian Games and World Championship, after 10 August, 2023. (Copies attached).
In view of the above, we request for your kind help to consider extending the Entry by Name date of the Indian Wrestling team to 1 5 August, 2023, so that these Wrestlers may also get a chance to participate in the selection trail of the Asian Games.
We look forward to your favourable consideration as a special case.”

This letter has been sent on the basis of a request from the wrestlers, who have said that they need till August 10 to make the necessary weight cuts and be ready for trials.

What this letter is proof of is a de-escalation of the protest. That Usha is trying hard to get them back into competition mode is evident, and it is indeed a good sign for Indian sport that such an attempt is being made. Usha, who was accused of delaying meeting the wrestlers, has since taken multiple proactive moves to get things back on track. This is yet another example.

In fact, it is in everyone’s interest that stars like Bajrang, Vinesh and Sakshi – all Commonwealth Games gold medal winners – get back on the mat and participate in the trials. The mat is where they belong, and the Asian Games will need India’s best to stand up for the tricolour.

While on the one hand, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) election process is gathering steam, on the other, this letter to the OCA is proof that the wrestlers protest, which captured the national imagination for five months, is finally on its way to being resolved in an amicable manner.

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