Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal had moved to Delhi High Court against the exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from the wrestling trials for the upcoming Asian Games. On Friday (July 21), the court said they were reserving judgement and that it will be pronounced on Saturday (July 22).
What's the point of contention?
The adhoc committee gave an exemption basis a specific clause in the Wrestling Federation of India's "Regulation for Selection of Wrestlers for participation in the National Coaching Camps/International Competitions", which states: "Asian Games: The Selection Trials in all weight categories are mandatory, however, the Selection Committee will have the discretion to select the iconic players like medallists of Olympic / World Championship without trials provided recommendation by Chief Coach / Foreign Expert."
Ok, when are the trials?
Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23. The dates are non-negotiable because these have been set after a reported week's extension from the Asian Games organisers' deadline, which was July 15.
That's sounds awfully inconvenient.
Yes, it is. For all concerned.
What are the possible outcomes?
Logically, there are two scenarios that could play out:
Scenario A: The court accepts the young wrestlers' plea and orders selection to be conducted via trials. The winner of the trials would then go to the Asian Games. With Bajrang and Vinesh both sitting under the assumption that an exemption has been given, they will quite obviously not be able to compete in trials in a day's (or even an afternoon's) notice. Such an order would then mean neither Bajrang nor Vinesh would be able to participate in the Asian Games under any circumstances -- since even the reserves are named basis the trial results. Of course, this would open a whole new can of trouble for the WFI, since both senior wrestlers would be within their rights to appeal this decision in the same/higher court.
Scenario B: The court rejects the plea and finds that the exemptions were provided as per the written law. The trials continue as per the ad-hoc committee's decision and the winners of the two trials in these two weight categories are named as reserves. Vinesh and Bajrang are named as the representatives for India in their respective weight categories at the Asian Games.
It can't be that straightforward, can it? Any other scenarios?
True. There are several possibilities, one of which could be an amendment to scenario A -- while convention dictates that the runner-up of a trial is the standby, this could be done away with and Vinesh and Bajrang could be named standbys.
Things are further complicated by the fact that the World Championship trials will happen by mid-August and these same participants will take part in that.