Wrestling: Trials for World Championships on August 25-26 in Patiala; no exemptions

Bajrang Punia is a defending bronze medalist at the Worlds. AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov

The trials for the Wrestling World Championships will be held on August 25-26 in Patiala, the ad-hoc panel announced on Monday, ending weeks of uncertainty around the selection competition.

They have also not announced exemptions for any wrestler for the trials for the World Championship (to be held in Belgrade from September 16-24) That tournament will serve as the first qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The dates for sending entries by names will close on August 16 but United World Wrestling (UWW) has in principle accepted India's request to extend the deadline because of the uncertainty surrounding the WFI elections.

"Since this is an Olympic qualification tournament, we couldn't have delayed the trials any further as India's entries would have been rejected," the ad-hoc panel head Bhupender Singh Bajwa told PTI.

Initially the ad-hoc panel had decided to hold the trials on August 10 and send a notification regarding that to the state association before August 3. But, later, the panel decided the newly-elected WFI governing body should take a call on the trials as it would get elected on August 12, leaving the elected governing body members plenty of time to conduct the exercise and send the entries to UWW.

But after the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the elections on the eve of the polls (August 11) and adjourned the matter to August 28, a question mark hung over the wrestlers' participation in the Worlds, leaving the ad-hoc panel to take this decision to conduct the trials.

"The weigh-in would be held on same dates of the Selection Trials at 7.00 hrs. at SAI Centre, NS NIS, Patiala and two kg weight tolerance will be allowed in all weight categories," said the statement released by the panel.

It also stated that if less than eight wrestlers are eligible for trials in a weight category, Nordic system will be applied. Under the Nordic system, the wrestlers fight each other in a round-robin format. After the matches are over, the wrestlers are ranked according to the number of victories. The top three win medals.

The panel also said that it may apply "seeding system" during the trials.