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Drama at wrestling trials due to Vinesh's choice, 50kg and 53kg trials delayed

Explained: Why Vinesh Phogat played in two categories at the Wrestling trials for Asian Olympic qualifiers.

Drama at wrestling trials due to Vineshs choice, 50kg and 53kg trials delayed

Women's wrestling trials to select team for Asian Olympic qualifiers and Asian championships is happening at NIS, Patiala. (PritishRaj/TheBridge)


Pritish Raj

Updated: 12 March 2024 6:12 AM GMT

Patiala: An early morning chaos ensued at the ongoing women’s wrestling trials on Monday at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports, Patiala.

The trials have been organised by the selection committee for the upcoming Asian Olympic qualifiers and Asian Champions in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan next month.

The draws for eight categories were listed out while the draws of two Olympic categories - 50kg and 53kg were missing.

When enquired by wrestlers and coaches, it turned out that there was some confusion regarding the participation of Olympian Vinesh Phogat in both categories.

Vinesh, who returned to the mat after 16 months at the National Championship in Jaipur last month, weighed in the 50kg category and wanted to participate in both divisions.

While the organisers were engaged in a debate about whether to allow Vinesh in both categories or not, the wrestlers of both categories started panicking due to the delay in the trials.

The wrestlers requested the organisers to start the bout given the difficulty in making weight cuts.

However, after two hours of delay, Vinesh was allowed to participate in both categories as her weight given at the time of weigh-in made her eligible for both categories.

"We responded to Vinesh's request to compete in both categories, the entire committee agreed to accommodate her request and allowed her to participate in both," Bajwa told The Bridge after completion of trials.

The timeline of events:

Vinesh wanted written assurance from the Sports Ministry that final trials would be done for the Olympics.

When she was denied any assurance, Vinesh expressed her desire to compete in both categories to keep her Paris qualifications chances alive.

When the wrestlers of 50 kg approached the committee, it was unanimously decided by the committee to allow Vinesh to compete in both categories.

The draw sheets were prepared of 50 kg and 53 kg and trials started three hours later.

Later, Vinesh won the 50 kg trials defeating Shivanee Pawar of Madhya Pradesh in the final and finishing third in 53 kg.

The winners in this trial will represent India at the Asian Olympic qualifiers while the runner-ups will play in the Asian Championships.

No wrestler will go to Olympic qualifiers in 53kg as Antim Panghal has already won the quota place with her bronze medal at the World Championships in September 2023

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