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Indian Olympic Association forms three-member committee to run suspended WFI

5 months ago 371

Indian Olympic Association forms three-member committee to run suspended WFI

Sanjay Singh (R) recently became the new Wrestling Federation of India president. PTI

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) constituted a three-member ad hoc committee on Wednesday to run the day-to-day affairs of the suspended Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Wushu Association of India president Bhupinder Singh Bajwa will head the ad hoc committee along with hockey Olympian MM Somaya and former international badminton player Manjusha Kanwar being the other two members.

The Sports Ministry suspended the WFI three days after Sanjay Singh, a former president Brij Bhushan Singh loyalist, swept the polls to become the new head. WFI was suspended for violating the provisions of its constitution.

WFI timeline: A look at everything that has happened since the elections

The Sports Ministry had also asked the IOA to appoint a new committee to run the affairs of the federation.

The IOA said in a release that the newly-elected president and officials of WFI have made arbitrary decisions in violation of their own constitutional provisions and also flouted principles of good governance.

“The IOA has recently become aware that the recently appointed President and officials of WFI have made arbitrary decisions in violation of their own constitutional provisions and against the principles of good governance espoused by IOC and further without following due process overturned the rulings of the IOA- appointed Ad hoc Committee,” IOA president PT Usha said in the release.

“This not only highlights a governance gap within the federation but also signifies a noticeable departure from established norms.

“Since the IOA considers adherence to governance norms as vital for ensuring fair play, transparency and accountability and to safeguard the interests of sportspersons as espoused by IOC and to ensure continuity, it has been decided to appoint an Ad hoc committee….”

The ad hoc committee was tasked to oversee and supervise WFI’s operations, which include athlete selection, submitting entries for athletes to participate in international events, organizing sports activities, handling bank accounts, managing the website, and other related responsibilities.

Bajwa was also one of the members of the ad hoc committee formed by the IOA in April to run the affairs of WFI and to conduct its elections. After repeated delays due to court cases, elections were finally held on December 21 with Brij Bhushan’s close aide Sanjay winning the presidential poll.

Hours after getting elected as WFI President on Thursday, Sanjay had announced that age group national championships will be held from December 28 in Gonda in UP, which is BJP MP Brij Bhushan’s constituency.

The government, while suspending the WFI, cited its “hasty announcement” of organising the U-15 and U-20 nationals “without following due procedure and not giving sufficient notice to wrestlers” for preparations.

The ministry felt the new WFI body was working under the complete control of its former office-bearers, which was not in conformity with the National Sports Code.

Sanjay’s election as WFI chief also led to Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik announcing her retirement from wrestling, while Tokyo Games bronze winner Bajrang Punia also returned his Padma Shri to the government.

World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat also followed suit as she returned her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award.

The trio had led a five-month-long protest of wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, accusing Brij Bhushan of sexually exploiting several women grapplers.

With PTI inputs

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