The wrestling trials to select athletes for the Asian Games are expected to occur around July 20, following an “unofficial” assurance from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The OCA has expressed a willingness to extend the deadline for submitting entries by name to the organizers of the event. This development provides a potential opportunity for wrestlers to secure their participation in the quadrennial extravaganza.
The OCA has designated July 15 as the cutoff date for submitting entries with athletes’ names to the Asian Games organizers. However, there are indications that the OCA is considering extending the deadline due to the efforts made by the ad-hoc committee for wrestling of the Indian Olympic Association.
Gian Singh, a member of the ad-hoc panel, told PTI that,
“There is so far no mail from the OCA (regarding granting extension) but unofficially they have said that they are willing to relax the dates for sending entries by name. But they have not confirmed the duration of the relaxation. Until we get a confirmation, we cannot say whether they will extend it by 10, 12, 15 days or more”
“However, without delaying the process any further, we will announce the dates for the Asian Games trials by Monday (July 10) and they will likely be held around July 20,”
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appealed to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for an extension of the deadline to submit entries to the Games organizers until August 10. This request aims to allow sufficient time for the protesting wrestlers to adequately prepare. Notably, six prominent wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, who are Olympic and Asian Games medalists, have formally requested the sports ministry for additional time to adequately train and prepare for the upcoming Asian Games trials.
They argued that their physical condition was not suitable for participating in the trials, as they had engaged in a 38-day protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). In response, the ad-hoc panel decided to exempt them from the Asian Games and World Championships trials, reducing it to a single bout. This decision garnered criticism from various sources.