New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Thursday told the Delhi High Court it had on May 3 named wrestler Narsingh Yadav to represent India in the 74kg freestyle category at the Rio Olympics.
Justice Manmohan reserved its order for June 6 on the plea of two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar seeking direction for holding trials in the 74kg category to enable him secure a berth in the Indian wrestling squad.
The WFI told the court that when Sushil Kumar was sent to Georgia along with other Indian wrestlers earlier this year he left the Indian camp and choose to join the Georgian national team and trained with them.
“He has misappropriated and misused the public money. The govt didn’t send him to Georgia to stay away from the Indian camp and train with Georgian wrestlers,” said the counsel appearing for WFI.
The WFI counsel further said: “I love both Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Yadav, but how can how do injustice to Narsingh when he has secured the berth. All athletes name were sent on May 3 for Rio Olympics. Once Narsingh’s name is sent all speculations end.”
During the hearing the court took note of the Centre’s stand that trials were not necessary as per the National Sports Code.
“You (Sushil Kumar) are saying holding a trial is a statutory mandate (under sports code). I don’t find any such statutory mandate. Centre has said it has given autonomy to the federation,” the court noted.
Senior advocate Amit Sibal, appearing for Sushil Kumar, argued that trials were necessary to access the current form of athletes just before the Olympics.
The court also indicated it may initiate action against WFI vice president Raj Singh for allegedly filing false affidavit in connection with the case.
Sushil Kumar won bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then silver in the 2012 London Olympics in the 66kg division, but the category was abolished by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) in 2014.
This prompted him to move up to the 74kg weight category which brought him into direct competition with Narsingh Yadav, 26, who was the top Indian wrestler in this class till then.
Sushil Kumar, 32, missed the qualification for Rio Olympics due to injury, and Narsingh Yadav was able to secure the berth for representing the country.
After repeatedly requesting the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for holding trials and being denied time and again, Sushil Kumar moved the court for relief.