CHENNAI: As was expected, the rising number of Covid-19 cases has started taking a toll on sporting activities planned in the country. The Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) has decided to postpone the nationals scheduled in Bhubaneswar from January 8 to 16.
Similarly, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has shifted the venue for 1st Open National Ranking Tournament from New Delhi to Uttar Pradesh due to restrictions imposed in the national capital in the wake of the new Covid variant. The Ranking Tournament was scheduled from January 10-12 at KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium, IG Sports Complex, New Delhi.
"We are in receipt of letter dated 30th December from Odisha government regarding postponement of dates of IWLF Youth (Boys & Girls), Junior (Men & Women) and Senior (Men and Women) National Weightlifting Championships-2021-22 at Bhubaneswar — now to be held from 20-29 March 2022. Due to force majeure circumstances owing to the rise of Covid-19 and Omicron pandemic cases in the country, we are left with no option but to postpone the championships as per guidelines of the Odisha government," said a circular sent to all affiliated units by the IWLF.
The circular also stated that there will be no change in final entries sent by the affiliated units and departmental boards. The postponement meant the meetings of executive council and general council of IWLF and referee examination at Bhubaneswar also got deferred.
The event was supposed to be ace weightlifter Mirabai Chanu's first competition since her historic silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, the WFI has decided to go ahead with the proposed National Ranking Tournament but changed the venue to Nandini Nagar, Gonda (Uttar Pradesh). "A lot of restrictions are being imposed in the national capital because of a surge in the Covid cases. We are expecting a full house as we have received record entries for the event so we shifted the venue. Since the 2021 nationals was organised in Nandini Nagar recently, the venue is ready to host the tournament," Vinod Tomar, WFI's assistant secretary, told The New Indian Express.
It is learnt that the federation has received an overwhelming response, especially from the men's freestyle wrestlers so it has been decided to begin the event with freestyle competition followed by bouts in the Greco-Roman and women's wrestling respectively. Earlier, the event was supposed to begin with Greco-Roman competition.