Government grant conundrum as two wrestling nationals scheduled

Going by administrative sanction given for the 2022 championship, at least 75% of the total affiliated units have to participate to make sure the organisers get a full grant.
(Representational Image)
(Representational Image)

CHENNAI: Going by administrative sanction given for the 2022 Senior National Wrestling Championship by the TOPS division of Sports Authority of India, at least 75% of the total affiliated units have to participate in the upcoming nationals to make sure the organisers get a full grant from the government.

The administrative sanction for the 2022 nationals dated December 14, 2022 read, "The grant is subject to the conditions mentioned below: a) That at least 75% of the total affiliated units will take part in the Championship. In case percentage of participation is between 50 and 74.9 Government grant will be reduced by 25%. However, no grant will be payable for participation below 50%."

As per the sanction, grant not exceeding Rs 17 lakh was approved for the last championship. The grant has to be utilised for the provision of boarding & lodging, hiring of FOP/equipment, payment of technical officials and prize money. For this purpose, assistance up to Rs 2000/per head per day for 'A' Class cities and up to Rs 1000/per head per day at other venues will be admissible, said the sanction.

Given the current situation of the sport in the country, two national championships have been announced — one each by the Wrestling Federation of India and the ad-hoc committee. The WFI is scheduled to host the tournament in Pune from January 29 to 31 while the ad-hoc panel's event is slated from February 2 to 5 in Jaipur with the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) as the hosts.

The WFI in its executive committee meeting held on January 16 claimed that 23 out of 25 affiliated state units will compete in its event, the RSPB and Services Sports Control Board (SSCB), who are non-voting members but employers of prominent wrestlers, are set to compete in Jaipur's championship. It is learnt that apart from these boards, wrestlers from a couple of state associations like Himachal Pradesh and Assam will compete in the tournament. Besides, rival factions in a few state units like Maharashtra and Haryana may field their respective teams for the two events.

As both seem determined to go ahead with their respective events, each of them has to make sure 75 per cent of state units compete in the events going by the 2022 administrative sanctions if they wish to get a full grant from the government.

"We are confident that more than 20 state units will compete in our event," one of the state unit heads supporting Sanjay Kumar Singh-led WFI told this daily. "Talking about the government grant, I can say that as per the rule, it should be given to the WFI. But even if that is not done, we will make sure the championship is held," he added.

Another official from the WFI claimed that their rival faction is inviting teams from unrecognised state units. "The same was done for the 2023 National Games. It eventually affects the genuine wrestlers as they are overlooked just because they are with the association backed by the WFI. Except for the RSPB and SSCB wrestlers, I don't think the ad-hoc committee's event will see participation from good grapplers from states," the official said.

Bhupender Singh Bajwa, chairman of the ad-hoc committee, was unavailable for his comments.  

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