National camp for senior wrestlers to begin after trials

wrestling national camp
The national camp will commence soon after the trials, scheduled in New Delhi on March 10 and 11. Representational image: Canva

New Delhi: The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is gearing up for the senior National camp after almost 15 months with Delhi likely to replace Patiala as the venue because of the ongoing farmers' protest.

The WFI-organised national camps are on hold since January, 2023, when the country's three elite wrestlers - Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat - accused then WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment, a controversy that pegged back Indian wrestling.

The National camp will commence soon after the trials, scheduled at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here on March 10 and 11.

The ad-hoc panel, which was entrusted with managing the day-to-day affairs due to the suspension of the WFI, had started the training camp for men (Rohtak) and women (Patiala) after conducting its own Nationals in Jaipur.

The WFI, after United World Wrestling (UWW) lifted its suspension, announced the trials to select the nationals teams for the Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek (April 11-16) and the Continental Olympic Qualifier in the Kyrgyzstan capital (April 19-21).

"After we conduct these trials, the top-four in each category will be invited to be part of the national camp," said dWFI president Sanjay Singh.

"We have not yet finalised the venues for the camps," the sports administrator from Varanasi, added.

It has been learnt that the SAI centre at Sonepat will, as usual, be the venue for the men's camp and the Indira Gandhi Stadium here could host the women's camp.

"The Lucknow SAI centre is out of question and we have to choose between Patiala and Delhi. As of today, the restriction on movement in and around of Punjab will make it a bit inconvenient for everyone to reach Patiala. So, probably, we can request the government to provide the IG Stadium for the women's camp," said a WFI source.

The four-best wrestlers at the recently concluded Nationals in Jaipur (conducted by the ad-hoc panel) and Pune (conducted by WFI), have been invited to compete in the trials.

Those who did not compete in either Nationals but are good performers will also be allowed to compete.

"We will invite not just the winners of the trials but also the finalists and the semifinalists for the national camp. If the runner-up or number 3-4 are not interested, which happens sometimes, then that camp spot will be offered to the next best wrestler and so on," informed the source.

It has also been learnt that the WFI has decided to conduct the U-15 and U-20 Nationals from March 28 to 30 in Noida.

The winners, finalists and the two semifinal winners will later be asked the join the national camp.

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