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Bajrang, Sakshi, Vinesh hit mat for training for first time in 15 days

Protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat trained for the first time in the past 15 days.

Bajrang, Sakshi, Vinesh hit mat for training for first time in 15 days

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 8 May 2023 5:07 PM GMT

As promised last evening, the protesting wrestlers hit the mat on Monday for the first time in 15 days to train and be ready for the upcoming Asian Games trials.

The training was out of the picture for the protesting wrestlers as they resumed their sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they have accused of sexual exploitation of women wrestlers.

Bajrang and Vinesh have not competed in any international tournament since January and have not gone for training abroad though the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had cleared their training-cum-exposure stints on their request. Till recently, they were adamant that unless their demands are met they won't train or compete in international tournaments.

In the last fortnight, they had two light training sessions at Jantar Mantar only. However, Vinesh on Sunday said they will resume training and won't shun tournaments anymore.

In the one-hour session at a nearby stadium, Bajrang had Jitender as his sparring partner while Vinesh trained with her cousin Sangeeta and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik. Satyawart Kadian trained with his brother Sombir.

"The last time we did mat training was a day before the resumption of this protest. And you have seen how busy we were in meeting supporters in the last 15 days. The discussions were happening even late in the night, training was not possible. But now, we will do mat training consistently," said a wrestler who was part of the training session.

"We had light training today as we followed techniques. Gradually, we will start strength and endurance training as well. We are hoping that a proper resolution will come and by that time we want to be ready for the Asian Games trials.

We also want to compete in the upcoming Ranking Series tournament," he added. However, the team for the UWW Ranking Series event, scheduled to be held in Bishkek from June 1-4 has already been decided.

It's more or less the same team that competed at the Asian Championships in Astana in April and won 14 medals. Bajrang, Vinesh, Sakshi, Satyawart, and Sangeeta were not a part of the Indian team in Astana as they were protesting.

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