CHENNAI: Postponement of the executive committee meeting of United World Wrestling (UWW) has cast a doubt on the World Championships slated from December 12 to 20 in Belgrade, Serbia.
The meeting scheduled for November 5 has been postponed to November 12. Indian wrestlers are scheduled to participate in the event in all 10 weight categories in each format (men's freestyle and Greco-Roman, women's freestyle).
Three national federations including heavyweights USA and Japan had already opted out of the event.
Cuba was the latest to join the list. The world body last month cancelled the Junior World Championships slated at the same venue saying that conditions for holding the event were not met.
"We will wait till November 12 before deciding our future course of action," Vinod Tomar, Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI's) assistant secretary, told this daily. The WFI had planned to hold selection trials in a few weight categories for the world meet. The federation also had plans to call grapplers from non-Olympic categories to the camp to give them a chance to make it to the World Championship.
"Wrestlers from non-Olympic weight categories will join if the UWW goes ahead with the championships. Europe is witnessing a second wave of Covid-19 infection. We are not sure what the world body will decide. We have sent a tentative list of wrestlers to the UWW to confirm our participation," added Tomar. Indians had won a silver and four bronze medals at the last World Championship.
The Japanese federation while announcing its decision to skip the event said in a statement: "Information has been confirmed that the new coronavirus infection is re-expanding in Europe, and the arena where the tournament was scheduled has become a temporary hospital for accommodating infected people. For the safety of players, the dispatch was cancelled."
Four freestyle wrestlers in each division (total five Olympic weight categories) are attending the national camp at SAI centre in Sonepat. Greco-Roman wrestlers from three weight categories are also part of the camp. Besides, 25 women wrestlers and support staff are camping at SAI centre in Lucknow.
"The camp will continue in 2021 keeping in mind next year's events. As far as the national championship is concerned, we will take a call after getting feedback from the Uttar Pradesh government next week," informed Tomar. The nationals are scheduled in Gonda, UP, from December 18 to 20.
International events, where Indian wrestlers are expected to participate next year, are Asian Championships from February 16 to 21 in Kazakhstan, Asia Olympic Qualifier from March 26 to 28 in China and World Olympic Games Qualifier from April 29 to May 2 in Bulgaria.