Wrestling

Asian Junior Championships could be moved out of India if Pakistan wrestlers are denied visa

The WFI President said they had begun the process of getting clearances months ago but a few ‘officials’ do not understand the ‘seriousness’ of the issue.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday said it runs the risk of losing the hosting rights of the upcoming Asian Junior Championships in New Delhi if the Pakistani contingent is denied visa.

WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, also an MP, informed the media that they are yet to get clearance form the Ministry of Home Affairs to conduct the event due to ambiguity over participation of Pakistani grapplers.

“We have not yet got clearance. I have asked for a meeting with the Home Minister this evening. If Pakistani contingent is denied visa, the UWW (world body) may ban us and take away the event from India. It’s Pakistan’s right to compete at the event,” Singh told reporters.

The WFI President said they had begun the process of getting various clearances four months ago but a few ‘officials’ do not understand the ‘seriousness’ of the issue.

“Usually the process begins two months from the event but we began it four months back. But a few officials do not understand that it is a serious matter. The United World Wrestling can take action against us. They can ban us, bar us from competing in Olympics.

“It’s not a bilateral meet, it’s an Asian Championship. Pakistan can’t be denied the chance to compete. Pakistan is not at mercy of India to compete. Only after giving guarantee, which ensures participation of all countries, we are allotted tournaments,” he said.

Singh also informed that only a boys team from Pakistan will come for the competition, scheduled to be held here from July 17 at KD Jadhav stadium.

Singh also said they were getting calls from various UWW officials and it was “bothering” them.

India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral cricket series since 2007 with the the Indian government not giving a go ahead to the BCCI in the backdrop of tense relations between the two countries.

Recently squash players from Pakistan struggled to secure visas for the Junior World Championship, starting July 17 in Chennai.

The WFI President expressed satisfaction that Indian girls finished second at the recently concluded World Cadet Championships and stressed that facilities have improved at training centres in India.

“Now the grapplers get two-month diet immediately after they join the national camp. It’s helping them. And now we conduct five Nationals to provide platform to all age group wrestlers to showcase their skills,” he said.

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