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Several coaches, parents of wrestlers demand withdrawal of exemption given to 6 wrestlers

The coaches and parents of several established and upcoming wrestlers demanded withdrawal of exemption granted to six wrestlers from Asian Games and World Championships trials.

Several coaches, parents of wrestlers demand withdrawal of exemption given to 6 wrestlers


Updated: 24 Jun 2023 5:02 AM GMT

The coaches and parents of several established and upcoming wrestlers on Friday demanded withdrawal of exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and three others from Asian Games and World Championships trials, saying the selection for these important events should be fair.

The IOA ad-hoc panel is drawing flak from the wrestling fraternity for handing out favours to six wrestlers, including Bajrang's wife Sangeeta Phogat, Sakshi's husband Satywart Kadian and Jitender Kinha.

These six wrestlers staged a sit-in protest against outgoing WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexually harassing several women wrestlers.

Dayanand Kalkal, coach of fast-rising wrestler Sujeet, who is emerging as a worthy opponent to Bajrang in 65kg, fathers of youngsters Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik, and Vikas Bhardwaj, who coaches U-20 world champion woman wrestler Antim Panghal have denounced the IOA panel's decision.

"I spoke to Mr Bhupender Singh Bajwa (head of WFI ad-hoc panel) and told him that this is not a good decision. Trials should be fair and without any bias. He listened to me and also assured that they will take back this exemption," Kalkal told PTI.

"He also said that the trials will be conducted by the new federation after July 11 elections. Let's see what happens," Kalkal added.

When PTI contacted Bajwa to know if he has made any such promise, he did not receive calls or respond to text message.

While Vinesh and Bajrang are proven performers, what has irked the wrestling fraternity the most is the exemption granted to Kinha, Sangeeta, Sakshi and her husband Satyawart.

"Jitender has not win a single trial in the last two years. How can you put him directly in final?" asked a Maharashtra wrestler, who did not wish to be named.

Sakshi had struggled to beat up and coming Sonam Malik in several 62kg trials in recent past while Kinha has not been on the Indian team in international tournaments regularly.


Dharmendra Malik, father of world championship silver medallist Anshu, said it's not a regular trial, a lot is at stake, so there is no scope for any bias.

"Asian Games come after four years. The World Championship with Olympic qualification also comes after four years. These are no ordinary trials. Exempting these wresters from trials is absolutely wrong," Dharmedra told PTI.

"The protest was to just get justice and now they themselves are inflicting injustice on other wresters," he said.

"All should compete in full draw. All wrestlers are equals. And if there is a weak wrestler, he will become strong only after competing with the strong ones. Isn't it?"


Rajender Malik, father of Sonam Malik, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, said any wrestler who makes the effort to win the trial should be assured participation in at least Asian Games.

"What is the reward for winning four bouts in the first trials? If they (IOA) have to give extra time to six wrestlers, they can but any wrestler who is winning the first trial should be assured that he will go to Asian Games. Later, if he wins the second trial, then he or she should go for World Championships also. Isn't that fair? You tell me," said Rajender.

Bhardwaj, coach of Antim, who is a good competition now for Vinesh, also criticised the IOA panel for exempting protesting wrestlers.

"This is wrong. We will protest against it. This is not acceptable," said Bhardwaj.

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