Indian Wrestling Controversy: Prem Chand Lochab Violated WFI Constitution, Demand For Nationals' Postponement Will Waste Time Of Grapplers, Says Darshan Lal

Newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India President Sanjay Singh had on Friday announced that the U15 and U20 Nationals will be held from December 28-30 in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh

WFI General Secretary Prem Chand Lochab

Prem Chand Lochab's election to secretary general's post is in violation of WFI's constitution and he is now preventing the growth of wrestling in the country by demanding a postponement of the junior Nationals, said Darshan Lal, who had lost to him in the recent polls, on Saturday. (More Sports News)

Newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India President Sanjay Singh had on Friday announced that the U15 and U20 Nationals will be held from December 28-30 in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.

However, Lochab said the WFI chief didn't follow the rules while announcing the dates and requested to postpone it.

"While the protestors say that we are fighting to save and promote wrestling, on the other hand, as soon as Mr. Sanjay Singh, President, of the Wrestling Federation of India, issued a circular for organising the U-20 and U-15 National Wrestling Competition, these protestors again tried to stop wrestling through General Secretary Mr Prem Chand Lochab," said Lal.

"In the letter written by Shri Lochab, he requested the president to postpone the organization of these competitions at the behest of the protesting wrestlers.

"Perhaps Lochab ji does not know about wrestling because the president does not want these wrestlers to lose time as 2023 is their last year and on January 1, 2024, these wrestlers will not be eligible to participate in these age groups."

In the elections held on Thursday, former Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) Secretary Lochab had won from the rival faction led by Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Anita Sheoran and backed by the protesting wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik.

Both Lal and Sanjay Singh, on the other hand, are part of former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's camp.

"Lochab is citing the Constitution of WFI in his letter whereas he has become the General Secretary of WFI in violation of Article XIII (b) of the Constitution of WFI," Lal continued.

"The Constitution of WFI says that only those members can participate in the elections who are executive members of the state unit of WFI, but Lochab ji is not an executive member of any state unit.

"Although his name was sent from the Gujarat unit, he has never been a member of the Gujarat Wrestling Association. The president of Gujarat himself has confirmed this and there was a lot of pressure on him to send his name from Gujarat. However, he has not confirmed where this pressure was coming from.

"But he deleted the name of his secretary and sent the name of Lochab in the hope that maybe the returning officer would delete his name citing the constitution of WFI, but the returning officer also closed his eyes. Similar was the case with Anita from Odisha."

On Friday, Lochab had written to Sanjay Singh that a few states have objected to the rescheduling and relocating of junior Nationals.

Lal said, "...these protesting wrestlers talked to one of the newly elected members of WFI and demanded a ban on organizing these competitions, but he rejected their demand by saying that we have come to WFI for the development of wrestling and not to stop wrestling.

"The competitions being organized are being done with the consent of all the members of WFI. However, all the state units have opposed Lochab's letter and have requested to conduct the competition as per schedule," he added.