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Former wrestler Narsingh Yadav elected chairman

April 24, 2024 15:35 IST

Former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Narsingh Pancham Yadav was elected chairman of the Wrestling Federation of India's Athletes' Commission in Varanasi on Wednesday, completing a process that was mandated by the sport's world governing body.

A total of eight candidates were in fray for the seven positions and after polling, conducted on ballot paper, seven members got elected. They then chose Narsingh as chairman of the commission.


Ahead of the 2016 Olympics, the Games-bound Narsingh had grabbed headlines when two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who missed the qualification event due to an injury, requested for a trial bout against him.

Sushil moved the Delhi High Court and only after his appeal was rejected, it was confirmed that Narsingh would go to Rio Olympics.

However, in a shocking turn of events, Narshingh failed two dope tests prior to the Games and was banned for four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport even though the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had cleared him on the plea that his failed test was the result of sabotage.

The CAS decision came a day before his opening bout, forcing him to leave Rio de Janeiro without competing. The ban came to an end in July 2020 and he has maintained that the entire episode was a case of sabotage.

The other elected members of the athletes commission were Sahil (Delhi), Smitha AS (Kerala), Bharti Bhaghei (UP), Khushboo S Pawar (Gujarat), Nikki (Haryana), and Sweta Dubey (Bengal).

United World Wrestling (UWW), the international body for the sport, while lifting suspension of WFI had stated that the move was subject to the Sanjay Singh-led national federation constituting an athletes' commission to resolve the grievances of the grapplers.

Six top wrestlers, including Olympic Games medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold-medallist Vinesh Phogat sat on a protracted protest at the Jantar Mantar here last year demanding the arrest of then WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexually harassing women wrestlers.

The sports ministry had then suspended the WFI and instituted an IOA ad-hoc committee to manage the day-to-day functioning of the federation.

UWW too placed the WFI under provisional suspension on August 23 after the Indian body failed to hold fresh elections in due course.

But after the elections were held in December and Sanjay Singh, a close aide of Brij Bhushan was elected president, he wrote to UWW to lift the suspension.

The UWW Bureau met on February 9 and revoked the ban, with the pre-condition that the WFI has to constitute its athletes' commission before July 1, 2024.

It had mandated that the commission should have active or retired athletes for no longer than four years.

The WFI had also immediately provided UWW with a written guarantee that all the wrestlers, including those who protested at Jantar Mantar, would be considered for participation in competitions, in particular the trials for the Olympic Games and any other major national and international event.

Narsingh, an Arjuna awardee and Asian Championships gold medallist in 2010, competed at the 2012 London Olympic Games and lost the opening bout in the 74kg category.

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