WFI Drama Continues: High Court Puts Stay On Polls

Haryana Wrestling Association obtains stay after being denied representation

Protesting wrestlers at a press conference in Delhi

The much anticipated Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, initially scheduled to be held on August 12 at Olympic Bhawan in Delhi, are delayed once again.  

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has put a stay on the polls. August 28 is the date of the next hearing on the issue.

The ‘Haryana Wrestling Association’ procured the stay from the High Court after being denied representation in the Electoral College of the elections.

Two groups claimed to operate wrestling in Haryana. But the Returning Officer chose Rohtash Singh and Rakesh Singh, from the 'Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association', as the representatives from the state for the Electoral College. 

Not to be outdone, the Deepender Hooda-led 'Haryana Wrestling Association' (HWA) approached the High Court.

"We have challenged the returning officer's order in the HC, saying that the Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association may be affiliated with the WFI but it is not affiliated with the HOA (Haryana Olympic Association), meaning they are not entitled to participate in the poll process," said Advocate Ravinder Malik, representing HWA. 

In a hearing on 11 August, the court elected to put a stay on the election till a final decision is made.

Each of the 25 voting state units were allowed to send names of two candidates for the WFI election Electoral College, from which individuals could get nominated for the posts in the Executive Committee. The 50 members of the college will also be the only ones voting in the election.

A total of 24 candidates were standing for the 15 positions in the WFI's Executive Committee. Sanjay Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan's aide, and former wrestler and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran, were top contenders for the most significant post of president.

Sheoran reportedly has the support of the six wrestlers fronting the protests against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. She is also a witness against Brij Bhushan in the sexual harassment case.

Former Indian wrestling great Kartar Singh is among five candidates in the fray for four vice-presidential posts.

The two-time Asian Games gold medallist (1978 Bangkok and 1986 Seoul) is a former WFI secretary-general and is in the fray along with Asit Kumar Saha (Bengal), Jai Prakash (Delhi), Mohan Yadav (Madhya Pradesh) and N Phoni (Manipur).

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