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NEW DELHI: In a setback for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC) has declined the IOA’s plea for a further extension of the deadline to submit the names of the Indian wrestling team for the upcoming continental multi-sporting event.
The IOA had initially requested the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to extend the deadline to August 5; however, they were granted only a seven-day extension until July 22.
The HAGOC has fixed July 15 as the cut-off date for all participating nations to provide the names of their athletes for the Asian Games, scheduled to be held from September 23 to October 8.
“The Hangzhou Organising Committee has rejected the IOA’s request for further extension. They conveyed it to the OCA, and the OCA has conveyed this decision to the IOA,” an official source from the Indian Olympic Association revealed to PTI.
As the July 22 deadline rapidly approaches for finalising the Indian wrestling team and submitting the names to HAGOC, the IOA’s ad-hoc panel faces a race against time to organise trials and select the team for this prestigious event.
The demand to delay the submission of entries by name was initially made by six protesting wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malikas well as Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat.
They had requested the sports ministry to extend the trial dates, citing their inability to participate due to ongoing agitation against the outgoing president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
In response, the IOA’s chief had written to the OCA, initially seeking an extension until August 10, which was later revised to August 5. However, the OCA granted a mere seven-day extension until July 22.
With the HAGOC ultimately rejecting the IOA’s request for further extension, it remains uncertain how the ad-hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwawill proceed in the coming days to expedite the trials and select the wrestling team.
Furthermore, the proposal for a one-bout trial for the protesting wrestlers is no longer under consideration. Initially, the ad-hoc committee had put forth a proposal that required the six protesting wrestlers to participate in a single bout against the winners of the trials in their respective weight categories. However, due to strong opposition from other wrestlers, coaches, and parents who perceived this as preferential treatment, the ad-hoc panel has abandoned its own proposal.
The Indian wrestling fraternity now faces the challenge of adhering to the impending deadline and swiftly resolving the internal issues surrounding the selection process.
(With inputs from PTI)



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