WFI fears ban if Pakistan wrestlers denied visa for Asian Jr Championships

first_imgThe office bearers of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) are spending sleepless nights as the government has given a visa clearance to all participating nations barring Pakistan for the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship in New Delhi starting July 17.17 countries, including traditionally strong Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Japan, Mongolia will be participating in the six-day event to be held at the KD Jadhav Wrestling Stadium in the national capital. Pakistan, which does not have a women’s team, is awaiting a clearance for its Freestyle and Greco-Roman style teams.The WFI had faced a similar problem last year while hosting the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships as the contingent from Pakistan could not participate after being denied visa.The federation fears a repeat of events could put them on mat this time as United World Wrestling (UWW), the international governing body for the sport, will take the matter quite seriously.”We are in touch with the Home Ministry officials. They are saying a clearance from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is required. After what happened last year, Pakistan lodged a complaint with the UWW. This time, fearing the same circumstances, they have already registered an advance complaint when the junior championship was allotted to us,” WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh told India Today.”We had assured UWW that there will be no issue this time because this is not a bilateral tournament and Pakistan have every right to participate. We can’t stop a team from Asia in an Asian tournament. If we don’t let Pakistan participate without any valid reason then UWW can take any action against us. This could be in the form of a huge fine, not letting us host any big tournament in the future, or banning our federation completely for five years, they can do anything.”advertisement”See, any tainted player can be stopped from getting a visa but not the entire team. I have spoken to the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh), he is out of town today and I will be meeting him tomorrow morning,” he added.Sharan said that the WFI has got all clearances, including that from the Sports Ministry and, as a host nation, had even applied for the teams’ visas four months ago. The WFI boss is also the vice-President of UWW Asia and knows that India’s image could suffer a serious dent in the world of wrestling.”I interact regularly with the officials of Pakistan Wrestling Federation. They were quite worried this time but I had assured that this problem will not crop up again. Unfortunately, it has. They have a good wrestling team and even won a gold medal at the CWG. Hopefully, once the HM listens to our problem, he will clear visas for the Pakistan team,” said Singh.Around 146 Freestyle, 117 Greco-Roman style and 100 women wrestlers will be competing for 10 gold, 10 silver and 20 bronze medals in each style. India’s budding wrestlers had won two gold, three silver and eight bronze medals in the last edition of the championship.last_img read more

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