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National champion Sujeet questions Bajrang's direct selection for Asian Games

National champion in 65 kg category, Sujeet Kalkal has slammed the decision to award Bajrang Punia direct entry into Asian Games.

National champion Sujeet questions Bajrangs direct selection for Asian Games

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 19 July 2023 11:19 AM GMT

Reigning U23 Asian Champion Sujeet Kalkal slammed the decision of handing direct entry to Bajrang Punia for the Asian Games by the IOA ad-hoc committee on Wednesday.

"I had wrestled with Bajrang a year back during the (Birmingham) Commonwealth Games trials, which was very close. During the trials, Bajrang was handed a direct semifinals entry and we had to contest all the bouts," said Kalkal in a video.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) ad-hoc panel, led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, on Tuesday, exempted Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang (65kg freestyle) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) from the Asian Games trials on July 22-23.

"This has happened before, Bajrang was given entry to the 2022 World Championships without trials. The American wrestler (Yianni Diakomihalis) against whom Bajrang lost 0-10, I have beaten him in the World Ranking series 8-2, said Sujeet, who had won that Ranking Series event held in Tunis in July 2022.

Sujeet also claimed that there are at least 5-6 wrestlers in the 65kg freestyle category who are capable of beating Bajrang.

Talking further about the fair trial, Sujeet said," I am not claiming to beat Bajrang but there are around 5-6 wrestlers who are capable to beat him. That is why everyone should get a chance for this berth."

This retaliation comes hours after reigning U20 World Champion Antim Panghal lashed out at the committee to hand Vinesh Phogat a direct entry to the Asian Games.

Echoing her sentiments, Sujeet said, " I also dream to be an Olympic champion but if these wrestlers (Vinesh and Bajrang) keep getting direct entries, how will we fulfill our dreams? This is highly demotivating for all the wrestlers."

Sujeet is the reigning National Champion, U23 Asian Champion and has a bronze medal at U20 World Championship.

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