Wrestling: Asian Championships moved out of India due to inquiry against WFI

Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and other wrestlers during a press conference regarding their protest against the Wrestling Federation of India at Jantar Mantar. Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The Asian Wrestling Championships, which were to be held in New Delhi this March, have been moved to Astana, Kazakhstan due to the ongoing inquiry against the Wrestling Federation of India.

This was confirmed by United World Wrestling, the sports' governing body, on Thursday in a news release. They have shifted the dates from March 28 to April 2, to April 7-15, tentatively.

The release stated, "UWW was forced to change the host of the continental championships due to the recent developments in Indian wrestling and a pending inquiry by the Indian sports ministry against the Wrestling Federation of India."

Earlier on Thursday, India's sports ministry had extended the submission report deadline for the Wrestling Oversight Committee by two weeks. A press release from the ministry had stated, "the extension also applies to other functioning of the committee which includes day-to-day administration of WFI, during the course of the inquiry."

The WFI had come under the scanner last month when India's top wrestlers took to the streets to protest its functioning. The likes of Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Sakshi Malik sat in protest at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar and levelled serious allegations against the Federation and its President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. They included sexual exploitation, mental harassment, death threats and financial misappropriation.

Wrestlers vs WFI: How the protest built up over months

The protest ended with the Sports Minister holding talks with the athletes and subsequent formation of the Wrestling Oversight Committee.

Earlier the top wrestlers including Vinesh, Bajrang and others had elected out of participating in two international tournaments (Zagreb Open and Ibrahim-Moustafa tournament, Cairo)