World Wrestling C’ship trials: Venue shifted from SAI Sonepat to Delhi’s IG Stadium

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday shifted the men’s trials for the World Championship from Sonepat to Delhi’s IG Stadium, keeping in mind “better organisation facilities”.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who competes in 74kg, has sent his entry for the trials.   -  PTI

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday shifted the men’s trials for the World Championship from Sonepat to Delhi’s IG Stadium, keeping in mind “better organisation facilities”.

The parent body also insisted that the decision to shift venue was not taken in anticipation of disruption from unruly fans at the Bahalgarh complex.

Recently a few referees had requested the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to change the venue for Friday’s trials since they feared for their safety at the small hall at SAI centre in Sonepat.

There is no place for fans to sit and watch the proceedings at the Bahalgarh Centre and it usually becomes difficult to contain supporters in case they do not agree with the decision of the officiating referee and judges.

“We have shifted the venue to IG stadium in Delhi because there is huge interest in World Championship trials. Fans, thousands in number, are expected to come and watch. The small wrestling hall at Bahalgarh cannot accommodate so many fans,” WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar said.

Asked if the referee’s request has forced them to change the venue, Tomar replied in negative.

“No no. It’s not about referees. Wherever the WFI conducts trials, the referees will have to report. It’s about better management. IG stadium has good seating capacity and trials can be conducted smoothly there,” he insisted.

However, history suggests that even IG stadium witnessed ugly scenes during the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials when supporters of star grappler Sushil Kumar and Praveen Rana exchanged blows.

The men’s trials will begin at 8am on Friday and it has been decided to hold trials for only six Olympic weight categories --57kg, 65 kg, 74 kg, 86 kg, 97kg and 125 kg.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who competes in 74kg, has sent his entry for the trials.

The trials four other categories which are part of the World Championship will be conducted later. The trials for women are scheduled to be held on Sunday in Lucknow.