Updated: June 2, 2016 10:42:26 am
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has followed “consistent procedure” of “not holding trials” observed the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, indicating that the tiff over which athlete should represent the country at Rio Olympics in 74kg category might not go in favor of Sushil Kumar.
Justice Manmohan observed that Sushil has benefitted from WFI’s selection policy in the past and even though it wasn’t ‘perfect’, it has been ‘consistent’. “You went to the Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2012 without giving trials. Those who got berths back then got to participate, now you are challenging the same policy,” commented Justice Manmohan, pointing out that Sushil had also “received benefit” of the violation of rules by the wrestling body. “They are consistent in not following a policy,” commented the court.
The bench also asked Sushil to explain why he had “virtually not been on the horizon” after July 2014 (when he won the Glasgow CWG gold), and had not participated in any major event after 2014. “Have you won anything since July 2014?” the court asked.
Senior advocate Amit Sibal, appearing on behalf of Sushil, argued that the two-time Olympic medallist had been attending training camps and was being denied a trial for Rio Olympics as he had refused to participate in the Pro Wrestling League. “I have been training at national camps in Sonepat and Georgia organised by the WFI under the national coaches,” Sibal said on behalf of Sushil.
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Sibal pointed out inconsistencies in WFI’s selection policies in his submission to the court, saying the federation does not have any written guidelines. He pointed out the policies of other Indian federations, namely the National Rifle Association of India and Archery Association of India, where trials are conducted and selection criteria is laid down in advance. “The top wrestling nations — USA, Iran, Russia — in the world all conduct trials. That is the policy each of them follows. It is the lack of a written policy that allows arbitrariness and unfairness to come into the picture,” said Sibal.
The bench, meanwhile, also observed that there “seemed to be some factional fight” within the WFI, and told all parties to “not involve the court” in it.
Justice Manmohan has also sought clarification on an alleged ‘misleading’ affidavit submitted by WFI vice-president Raj Singh, who has been in favour of trials. According to the WFI counsel, Raj had falsely claimed in his affidavit that he was the chief coach in 1996 when a trial between Pappu Yadav and Kaka Powar took place in the run-up to the Atlanta Olympics. The court said ‘some dots were not joining’ and demanded an explanation on the issue. The hearing will continue on Thursday.
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