Lack of training, COVID-19 fear: Wrestlers question UWW over decision to resume competition from September

By   - 19/06/2020

Junior age-group wrestlers are sceptical over United World Wrestling’s (UWW) decision of resuming competitions from September. U23 Asian champ Naina Kanwal says it is not the best idea for the resumption of competitions as the coronavirus cases are rising at an exponential rate. “The cases are constantly rising it puts all of us at danger. Moreover, the treatment for COVID is expensive and if we get infected our family will also be in danger of getting the virus”.

UWW on Thursday released tentative dates for the 2020 calendar as per which it is mulling over holding the cadet, junior and U23 continental events. They have kept a window of two months from September 1 to October 30 between which they are thinking to hold the tournaments. But Naina believes that lack of mat training and competitions will lead to poor performances from wrestlers. “We have not competed for over three months and lack mat training. Due to this, I don’t think it the right time resume competitions as we will be vulnerable to getting injured.

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U23 world championship silver medallist Pooja Gehlot shared Naina’s opinion and says “yes, we have been training hard. But mostly it is just individual training. I think it is better for everyone if UWW waits for some more time and monitor the situation before resuming the competitions”.

UWW’s decision has also left Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in a fix. While the Indian governing body is ready to send the young grapplers for the competitions, they are in a catch-22 situation on how to do it with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. “Since UWW has decided to hold the competitions it is our duty to comply with it. But the problem is the cases in the region are increasing at an exponential rate and travel restriction are still in place,” Vinod Tomar, WFI’s assistant secretary said.

For now, WFI is monitoring the situation closely and will take the decision according to the situation. “We will monitor the situation and take permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the matter,” he added.

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