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Asian Jr wrestling: MHA put Pakistan's participation on hold
 
New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) The Home Ministry has given green light to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for hosting the Asian Junior Championship but has put on hold participation of grapplers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to officials.

WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar confirmed that the MHA has given a go ahead for the event but said Pakistan's participation was "subject to clearance from security agencies."

While Tomar informed only about Pakistan's participation, the PTI has learnt that clearance has been put on hold also for wrestlers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MHA has communicated to the Federation that it will confirm the participation of the three countries in "due course".

The clearance for the tournament paves the way for the grapplers and the officials from Uzbekistan, Japan and Turkmenistan and Korea to secure visas.

WFI Secretary VN Prasood said the tournament will go ahead even if Pakistan contingent does not get permission to compete but it will have its own consequences.

"The tournament is on. We have given visa requests for Pakistan also but it all depends on ministry. If Pakistan are not allowed, the world body UWW may not give India tournaments to host in future," Prasood feared.

The WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh while addressing media said that Pakistan should be given permission to compete.

"If Pakistani contingent are not allowed to compete and denied visa, the UWW (world body) may punish us. They may ban us and take away the event from India. It's Pakistan's right to compete at the event ," Singh said.

"It's not a bilateral meet, it's an Asian Championship. Pakistan can't be denied the chance to compete. Pakistan is not at the mercy of India to compete. Only after giving guarantee, which ensures participation of all countries, we are allotted tournaments," he said.

Singh said he will meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh tomorrow to sort out the Pakistan issue.

More than 300 wrestlers, including 100 women, from 17 countries will compete in the Freestyle and Greeco Roman categories in the six-day championship starting July 17 at KD Jadhav stadium in New Delhi.

Recently squash players from Pakistan also struggled to secure visas for the Junior World Championship, starting July 17 in Chennai.

India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral cricket series since 2007 with the the Indian government not giving a go ahead to the BCCI in the backdrop of tense relations between the two countries.

The WFI President expressed satisfaction that Indian girls finished second at the recently concluded World Cadet Championships and stressed that facilities have improved at training centres in India.

"Now the grapplers get two-month diet immediately after they join the national camp. It's helping them. And now we conduct five Nationals to provide platform to all age group wrestlers to showcase their skills," he said.


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