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Martinetti resigns, WFI disappointed

New Delhi: The resignation of Raphael Martinetti as the president of world wrestling federation (Fila) could create more problems for the sport in India.

Martinetti announced his resignation in Phuket, Thailand, on Saturday.

According to a senior Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) official, the ousted Fila boss was in favour of awarding India the rights to host the 2015 World Championships.

“India has made a bid to stage the World Championships... Martinetti was very positive about our bid,” clamed the official. “Now that the body has got an acting president (Nenad Lalovic of Serbia), we are not sure about the fate of our bid,” he added.

The Sushil Kumars were already disappointed with wrestling being axed from the Games; the recent development is another fresh setback.

Only a few days back, Csaba Hegedus, the 1972 Olympic champion and Fila bureau member was in Delhi to have a look at the facilities here and held talks with the WFI brass on marketing and sponsorship of the world meet.

Martinetti, who had been the Fila chief since 2002, was forced to resign as an after-effect of International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympics.

“On the occasion of the extraordinary bureau meeting that was convened by Mr. Raphael Martinetti in Phuket (Thailand), on 15-16 February, a group of Eastern delegates accused him of being to blame for the eviction of wrestling as part of the 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games,” a Fila statement said on Saturday.

“Martinetti asked for the bureau’s support in leading the campaign to save wrestling, but he got only 50 per cent of the votes. Martinetti did not use his casting vote to save his position and announced his resignation in order to give a chance to another president to act upon the situation,” the statement added.

Contacted in Phuket, Martinetti said: “Yes, I have resigned. Russia and Serbia were my biggest critics in the meeting.”