Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh asserted on Friday that holding a trial between Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Yadav to decide India’s representative in the 74kg freestyle category for the Rio Olympics may be a tricky affair as it would encourage other grapplers to demand trials in their respective weight divisions.
Sushil approached the Prime Minister on Friday, demanding a trial for deciding India’s representative in the 74kg freestyle category. The double olympic medalist had earlier approached the sports ministry on the issue. Sushil has also launched an online campaign, appealing for a trial with videos and posts on his Twitter handle.
Brij Bhushan, who appeared to be displeased with Sushil for creating a ruckus over the issue, indicated that a section of WFI officials are not in favour of holding a selection trial, but refused to rule out the possibility given Sushil’s contribution to Indian wrestling.
“Before the 2004 Olympics, Kripa Shankar had also appealed to the court against Yogeshwar Dutt. Then the Delhi High Court had ruled that the wrestler who has bagged the quota place should go to the Olympics. According to the rules, the quota place goes to the country, not a particular wrestler. But it has been the practice in Idnia that the quota winner goes to the Olympics. That is the rule we have always followed,” Brij Bhushan told IANS.
“If we allow Sushil to have a trial, then the matter may not remain confined to just the 74kg division. Then wrestlers in other categories may also start demanding trials. It has been the practice in India that the quota winner generally goes for the Olympics. We will have meeting in this regard next week and decide on the issue.
“Narsingh had won the Olympic quota. He is also the more experienced wrestler in the 74kg category. If any other wrestler has raised such kind of demands, then we would made our decison by now. But Sushil has immense contribution towards the sport. He has taken Indian wrestling to another level. He is a superstar of the sport. So we cannot take a hasty decision. But Sushil’s achievements are all in the 66kg division. The federation and selectors will keep the national interest in mind while taking a decision,” he added.
“However, the possibility of holding a trial cannot be rulked out at this stage.”
Narsingh, who won the Olympic quota at the World Championships late last year, has asserted that he is the more deserving candidate due to his greater experience in the 74kg freestyle division. The Mumbai-based grappler has also threatened to approach the court on the issue.
When reminded that sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal has stated that the goverment will not interfere in the matter nad the WFI will have the final say, Brij Bhushan said, “Since the sports minister has now become involved, we would like him to convey his position to us in writing.”
“The matter has now gone too far. I got to know from the media that Sushil has approached the Prime Minister. He had appealed to the sports minister on April 1. We will have to see what the PMO or the sports ministry says on the issue. We are yet to get any instructions from the government in this regard. The matter could even reach the court now,” he added.