WFI keen to allow spectators to attend wrestling nationals

As per the fresh SOP issued by GOI, spectators can be allowed up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total capacity of the stadium for outdoor events

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

The wrestling nationals are set to take place in January and February 2021 and the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is mulling over the possibility of allowing spectators inside the stadium. 

The Government of India issued a fresh directive on December 26, as part of its unlock procedure, where they have allowed sports competitions in the country to host fans up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total capacity of the stadium. 

But for closed spaces, the number of fans will remain limited to 200. It can be further reduced to 100 or less if the state government which hosts the event deems fit to do so. Since wrestling is held in indoor stadiums, the number is expected to hover around the 200-mark. 

“Yes, the nationals might see spectators in the stands,” Vinod Tomar, WFI’s assistant secretary, confirmed the possibility to Indian Express.

Three venues have been finalised for the nationals

The senior men’s freestyle nationals is set to be held at Chandra Mauli Pandey Kushti Academy in Noida on January 23 and 24. 

The senior women’s category wrestlers will sweat it out the Holy Light Senior Secondary School, Laramda in Agra on January 30 and 31. Whereas, the Greco-Roman event will be held at Jagjit Singh Academy in Jalandhar, Punjab on February 20 and 21.

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Jagjit Singh Saroya is the owner of the academy in Jalandhar. He is also excited to have fans back in the stadia and is waiting for a green signal from the government.

“We want spectators, but it all depends on the response we get,” Singh said.

Four Indian grapplers have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Vinesh Phogat has earned a ticket in the Women’s Freestyle 53 kg category. Whereas, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia have qualified in the 65kg, 57kg and 86kg men's freestyle categories respectively.

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who are training abroad, will be absent from the nationals. Punia is training in the USA while Phogat is set to fly to Hungary and Poland.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is also set to give the nationals a miss, citing his lack of match fitness. His pull out means that his much-anticipated 74kg weight category clash against Narsingh Yadav will not take place.