In an exceptional development, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has decided to hand out central contracts to Indian wrestlers only to become the second federation after the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to offer central contract to its players. The decision was taken after a meeting in New Delhi which was presided over by WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and attended by prominent wrestlers like Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajranj Punia, Pooja Dhanda, Vinesh Phogat and Divya Kakran.
WFI has felt the need to give central contracts to make wrestlers self-sufficient who are often bringing notable international medals. The Federation has decided to offer the contracts to around 150 wrestlers. Interestingly, BCCI currently has 45 centrally contracted players — 26 men and 19 women.
According to sources, the grapplers will be placed in nine categories, from category A to I. The wrestlers in A category are expected to draw Rs 30 lakh annually, while those in the lowest category are likely to get Rs 36,000. As per the plan, wrestlers will have to take the National Championships very seriously as it will form the basis of the contract system. The winners at the Nationals will come directly under the scheme. The Nationals will be held in Gonda from 30th November to 2nd December, 2018.
The federation has also decided to hand out contracts to few of India’s top wrestlers by mid-November so they can prepare for the major tournaments beginning with the Asian Championships in March next year. Assistant Secretary of WFI Vinod Tomar said that the contracts will also be extended to include junior wrestlers who perform exceeding well at the national and international levels. However, sources revealed that the junior wrestlers were not part of the plan originally but were eventually included on the insistence of WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The wrestlers in the junior and under-23 category may get Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 monthly.