UWW takes away junior Asian wrestling championship from India fearing visa issues

The world wrestling body United World Wrestling (UWW) has taken away the junior Asian Championship hosting rights from India, days after asking all its affiliated federations to stop dealing with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

India had agreed to host the re-scheduled junior Championship in July after original hosts Lebanon withdrew. This decision comes after India had not issued visas to a three-member shooting contingent from Pakistan for the shooting World Cup in Delhi earlier this year, prompting the IOC to censure IOA.

It was followed by UWW asking all its affiliated federations to suspend all communication with WFI. The WFI fears that it will not be able to host tournaments in future if the issue is not resolved.

"UWW has told us that it has shifted the junior Asian championship from India to Thailand. We had not bid for this event and we chipped in just to oblige UWW-Asia but we will certainly encounter problems when we would want to host major tournaments next year," WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.

"The government will have to do something about it (the visa issue related to Pakistan athletes). But it's highly unlikely that something can be done before the general elections," Tomar added.

The WFI had made an effort to salvage the championship by seeking visa guarantees from the government but before the Sports Ministry could send a reply, UWW decided to shift the event.

WFI President B B Sharan Singh said the issue will only be discussed after the general elections. "Everybody is busy with election preparations," Singh, who is a Member of Parliament from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh, said.

Defending the diktat issued to all affiliated federations, UWW President Nenad Lalovic had said there is a standard protocol with regards to all its events and demanding visa approvals from India for all nations was part of it.

Lalovic did not mention Pakistan in his statement but asserted that India will have to assure that all participating nations will be given entry if it has to host junior Asian championship in July.