WFI and SAI exchange verbal volleys

WFI and SAI exchange verbal volleys

Photo for representation purpose only. - iStock file photo

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26

A war of words has broken out between the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) over the participation of the Indian team at the U-23 World Championships.

SAI in a release on Tuesday announced that it would bear the expenses of only 24 wrestlers for the meet, the rest six have been cleared on ‘no cost to government’ basis. In total, 36 members, including 24 wrestlers, 6 coaches, 3 physiotherapists and 3 referees, will travel to Belgrade on government cost. Expenses of the rest of the team will now be borne by WFI.

“SAI pointed out that the decision to clear 24 wrestlers on Cost to Government was based on an assessment of their performance in the domestic and international events in the last three years. It also suggested the Wrestling Federation of India to also include coaches from the academies producing larger number of members of the contingent,” SAI said in a statement.

The Tribune has learned that a few coaches have been dropped by SAI as they were not associated with training of the team members. It cleared only two coaches, Mahabir Prasad and Kuldeep Singh, for the Greco-Roman team.

This has irked WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who said that SAI officials were wrong in deciding on the names. “All the coaches whose names have been sent by us have NIS certificates and are only UWW qualified coaches. If they think they are not coaches then it would only mean their own coaching programme is wrong,” Singh said.

SAI suggested that WFI should include academy coaches “producing large number of international athletes in line with international best practice in cases where camps aren’t held round the year”.

‘SAI didn’t clear camp’

WFI hit back saying SAI did not clear the proposal to hold the camp for the U-23 championships. “We sent the proposal to hold the camp on September 6. We sent the proposal for the championships with names well in time,” Singh said.

“Here we are trying to cut government expenses as we always send teams in batches and now it is being made up that we have sent a few undeserving names. Also if we start including coaches from private academies and akhadas we may have to send 20-30 names. Will that be right?” he added.

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