HC asks WFI to allow dropped female wrestler to go to Finland

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been asked by the Delhi High Court to allow wrestler Geetika Jakhar, dropped from a touring athletes` contingent, to take part in an Olympic qualifier tournament in Finland.

Justice Vipin Sanghi also came down heavily on WFI for omitting Jakhar`s name from the list of touring athletes despite the fact that she had defeated rival Alka Tomar in a bout held on April 19 to select a wrestler in 63 kg weight category to represent India at Helsinki.

"I direct that the petitioner (Jakhar) shall be permitted to participate in the tournament in 63 kg weight category at Helsinki. The petitioner`s passport is already available with the WFI. They should proceed forthwith to obtain her visa, and it is hoped that the visa shall be endorsed by concerned authorities on April 30," the court said.

The court was critical of WFI`s selection policy and subsequent change made in it to include a wrestler, who did not take part in qualifying bout as she was in China, in the touring contingent.

"There is no apparent reason for this sudden change of mind that WFI seems to have experienced. Having chalked out a course of action, they should stick to it, as the last minute changes, when Indian contingent has to leave for Helsinki on May 1, not only shakes confidence of athletes but also raises doubt about bonafides of the action of WFI," the court said.

The court`s order came on Jakhar`s plea, filed by lawyer N K Chahar, against her omission from touring athletes` list.

Jakhar had taken part and won the bout against Tomar on April 19, organised by WFI for selecting wrestler for the Olympic qualifier. However, the sports body had ordered a re-trial as Tomar had challenged the result.
Tomar, who had lost the bout, raised protest, contending that she, in fact, had "floored" Jakhar whose shoulder had touched the ground and hence, re-trial should be held.

The WFI allowed Tomar`s objection and fixed the re-trial bout on April 23. However, Jakhar did not participate in it.

The sports body then changed its policy and inserted wrestler Anita`s name in the list. She did not participate in the WFI`s bout here on April 19, as she was in China.

Aggrieved by the decision of WFI, Jakhar moved the court which quashed the sports body decision and also asked the Union Sports Ministry to take all necessary steps for granting approval to her.

The court, in its order, rapped WFI`s decision to hold re-trial bout saying "even in a real competition, a bout`s decision is taken by the referee, match chairman and judge and their decision is final. The WFI action in calling for re-trial between petitioner and Alka Tomar defeats whole purpose of holding the bout in the first place, as it can lead to a never-ending process."


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