Who will go to Rio? Sushil Kumar? Narsingh Yadav? More importantly, who decides who gets to go? The show rumbles on.
Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to give a hearing to Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who has sought a selection trial to decide who will represent India in the men’s 74 kg freestyle category at Rio Games.
The court also sought the response of the Sports Ministry and WFI and asked them to file their affidavits.
The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on May 27.
The counsel appearing for Sushil told the court that the Olympic medallist was injured when a Wrestling Championship was held last year where Narsingh Yadav had won a medal.
“The petitioner (Sushil) has received the funds even after Narsingh Yadav had won a bronze medal in the Championship.
“I have a reason to go for a shot for Rio Olympics 2016. Confusing signals have been given to me and there has been no response from WFI. If the selection trial is carried out, I don’t want to miss that. The WFI has failed to follow the guidelines,” his counsel said.
Countering his submissions, the counsel appearing for WFI told the court that Sushil had been participating in 66 kg freestyle category and now at the fag end he wants to participate in 74 kg category.
“Narsingh Yadav has participated in 74 kg category and has won a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championship which is far more tough than the Olympics,” the counsel said.
The WFI’s counsel also claimed that Sushil was avoiding wrestling with Narsingh Yadav and he has not participated in World Championship but Yadav was there.
This is how the conversation went:
Bench: “Has the wrestling federation taken a decision?”
When Sushil’s counsel said that a direction for conducting selection trials in the first week of June be given, the court said, “the Indian cause will suffer.”
The Indian cause has to be placed on a higher pedestal. Individuals may suffer but the country has to be placed higher. You both are equally placed. How can I decide this. I will only interfere as a last resort. Let WFI decide this first as they are experts in this field.
The Background Story:
After his name did not figure in India’s Rio preparatory camp, 32-year-old Sushil moved the Delhi High Court on Monday with a plea to direct the WFI to conduct a selection trial to decide who will represent India in the men’s 74kg freestyle category at the Rio Games.
The former world champion had taken the matter to the doorsteps of the Prime Minister’s Office as well. He, though, is yet to get a response. He had also appealed to the Sports Ministry, Indian Olympic Association and the WFI. The Sports Ministry has failed to intervene too.
According to the rules, a quota belongs to the country and not to a particular wrestler and, thus, it was expected that a trial would be held in the contentious 74kg category to chose between Sushil and Narsingh Yadav.
WFI has been giving hints that it is not too keen on holding the trial in 74kg division, fearing demands from other wrestlers in the remaining seven weight categories India has earned quotas for Rio Games.
Narsingh has been staking his claim to represent India at the Olympics since last year when he secured a quota place at the World Championship in Las Vegas after winning a bronze in 74kg. Sushil, who missed the event due to a shoulder injury, has been demanding a trial.