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Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat exempted from Asian Games trials

The WFI ad-hoc committee has allowed Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat to directly go to the Asian Games without trials, but not allowed any such provision for the other protesting wrestlers.

Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat exempted from Asian Games trials

Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 18 July 2023 3:56 PM GMT

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, two wrestlers who were the faces of the protest which has torn apart India's wrestling community this year, will be sent to the Asian Games later this year without appearing in trial bouts.

However, no such exemption has been given to Sakshi Malik, according to PTI.

After days of mulling over the decision, the four-member ad-hoc committee running the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has decided that the wrestling trials for the Asian Games at the KD Jadhav Stadium in New Delhi on July 22 and 23 will not see Bajrang and Vinesh, both of whom have been out of action for many months.

The wrestlers who win in their categories at the trials will be on standby in the Asian Games contingent.

The four-member committee led by Bhupinder Singh Bajwa was reported to have been in disagreement on the decision to send Vinesh and Bajrang to China without trials.

The selection criteria of the WFI for the Asian Games did have provision for exemptions for icon players. Apart from winning Olympic and world medals, Bajrang and Vinesh are also the reigning Asian Games gold medallists in their weight class.

“The selection of all weight categories are mandatory, however, the selection committee will have the discretion to select the iconic players like the medallists of Olympics/World Championships without trials provided recommendation from the chief coach/foreign expert," said the WFI report.

The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8, with the wrestling bouts beginning on October 4.

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