Terming it as a mistake, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Wednesday announced that the contracts of star grapplers Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik have been upgraded to Grade A from B. When the WFI announced the contracts, both Sakshi and Sushil were given grade B contracts. However, rectifying the error, an announcement to upgrade their contracts was made by WFI President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh at the launch of Tata Motors Elite Wrestlers Development Programme in Mumbai. "With your support, we implemented the grading system for the players A, B, C, D, E and F grades.
"However, during the national championships at Gonda when our full body (organisation members) was present, we realised that players like Sushil (Kumar), a two-time Olympic medallist, and Sakshi Malik, who gave the country the first medal when India's medal tally (at the Rio Olympics was empty).
"We all unanimously agreed that such players should not be kept in B grade," Singh said while explaining the WFI's change of mind.
Kumar had won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and added another silver medal to his kitty at the London Olympics in 2012. Sakshi earned a bronze medal in the Rio Games two years ago.
"So I would like to admit that it was a mistake (on our part) and we are rectifying the mistake and are now including both the players (Sakshi and Sushil) to A grade,added the WFI President.
"After Singh's announcement in Grade A, there are five wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Pooja Dhanda, Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik.
The players in Grade A will get Rs 30 lakhs annually. "Players did not complain about it (grades), neither the media did. But we have rectified the mistake," Singh informed.
Now there are no players in Grade B. There are seven players in Grade C, including Divya Kakran and Ritu Phogat, nine players in Grade D, including Rahul Aware, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Players in Grade C will get Rs 10 lakhs annually while those in Grade D will get Rs 5 lakhs. There are four players in Grade E who will get Rs 3 lakhs each and U-23 national gold medallists in Grade F, who will be provided Rs 1.20 lakhs per annum.