NEW DELHI: An action-packed year-end awaits wrestling fans of the country with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in collaboration with Kolkata-based Leisure Sports, planning to organise the Indian Wrestling League (IWL).
The IWL format is clearly based on the popular cricket extravaganza, the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, WFI President G.S. Mander did not want to compare the two as the IPL was a much bigger and richer event.
The IWL will be held in seven weight categories for men's and women's freestyle wrestling. During the first year, there will be six city-based teams competing against one another. Each side will be named after the franchise owner and may have two foreign wrestlers in every style.
“The franchises will be city-based and will be located in States like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We are working out the details but the franchises will operate from pockets where wrestling is popular,” said Mander.
The competition will be held on extended weekends — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — for five weeks.
The wrestlers will obtain classification points after every bout. At the conclusion of the league, prize money will be awarded to the winning team and the champion wrestlers. The event will be telecast live on a sports channel.
“We are in the final stages. We are working on finding sponsors and finalising other details,” said Mander. A concrete picture of the league is expected to emerge next month.
Mander also said the league would not clash with any important international events as “these months are free.”
The WFI is yet to get any approval from the International Wrestling Federation (FILA). However, Mander said the apex body should not have any problems about such a league. “After all it's a domestic event and we are promoting the sport through this,” said Mander.