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WFI and its weird ways

New Delhi: The faulty selection policy of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) nearly cost India three medals in the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

According to sources, the names of three medal winners in women’s freestyle wrestling — Babita Kumari (gold in 55 kg), Lalita (silver in 53 kg) and Geetika Jhakar (silver in 63 kg) did not figure in the list of original entries send by WFI.

In fact, two of them, Lalita and Geetika, went to Glasgow without knowing whether they would be allowed to compete. The federation had earlier entered the names of Babita Kumari and Suman Kundu in these two weight categories.

Babita, too, was in trouble as she was entered for 53 kg, whereas she was later shifted to 55 kg after winning the trials.

The entries of the Indian girls were only confirmed on Monday, a couple of days before the competition when the replacement committee of the Games accepted India’s request to change the entries. The root cause of the problem was WFI’s earlier decision not to hold any trials for selection.

Some wrestlers in the men’s freestyle category did not take the ruling lying down and approached the Delhi High Court.Though the court did not intervene in the selection matter, a scared WFI hastily arranged for women’s trials in Lucknow on June 11, well after the last dates for CWG entries.

The trials proved WFI selection policy completely wrong as both Suman Kundu and Pooja lost against Geetika and Babita in the 55 kg and 63 kg, respectively.

Lalita bagged the honour in the 53 kg weight category, where the original entry was for Babita.

“We had some problems regarding entries because the trials were held late,” said WFI secretary Raj Singh. “But we managed to get the girls in after arriving in Glasgow,” he added.