The IOA’s ad-hoc panel of the Indian Olympic Association will recommend withdrawing Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat from India’s Asian Games squad if they fail in the upcoming trials for the World Championships, a committee member said on Tuesday.
Punia (men’s freestyle 65kg) and Phogat (women’s 53kg) got direct entries to the quadrennial showpiece, while other candidates in the remaining 16 Olympic weight categories went through grueling trials from September 23 to July 22-23 to earn a place in the Indian team for the Hangzhou Games.
Punia, Phogat and four other wrestlers, who staged a sit-in at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar from April 21 to May 28, had sought time till August 10 to prepare for the trials.
However, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has not extended the deadline for accepting wrestling entries by name beyond July 23.
The IOA ad-hoc panel later decided to hold the trials, but excluded Punia and Phogat, leading to angry reactions from the wrestling fraternity, who alleged bias in the decision.
“We will direct the panel to send Bajrang and Vinesh to the Asian Games only if they win the World Championship Trials, otherwise not.
“If Bajrang loses the trial, he will be on standby and the Asian Games trial winner (Vishal Kaliraman) will go,” said Jian Singh, a member of the panel. PTI.
In the categories Bajrang and Vinesh are currently competing in, Kaliraman (men’s freestyle 65kg) and Antim Pangle (women’s 53kg), who won the Asian Games trials, are standby players.
In the Olympic weight categories, the top four finishers at the Asian Games Trials and one of the six protesting wrestlers (in the relevant category) form a group.
“We propose that the two third-place finishers (at the July 22-23 trials) play an eliminator between them and pit the winner against the trial winner. The eliminated wrestler will compete against the losing grappler in the finals.
“Then the winners of these matches have to play against each other and get a place in the Indian team for the Worlds,” Jian Singh explained.
This is what we are going to propose at the next ad hoc committee meeting. Let’s see if they agree.
Apart from Punia and Vinesh, the other wrestlers in this group are Sakshi Malik, her husband Satyavarth Kadian, Jitender Kinha and Punia’s wife Sangeeta Phogat.
Sakshi, Sangeeta, Kadian and Kinha did not compete in the Asian Games Trials.
Jian Singh said none of these six wrestlers have yet communicated with them whether they will compete in the Worlds Trials.
For non-Olympic weight categories, the Open Trial will be open with all eligible candidates allowed to compete. Everyone gets a discount of up to two kilos.
The non-Olympic weight categories in men’s freestyle are 61 kg, 70 kg, 79 kg and 92 kg, while women’s wrestling is 55 kg, 59 kg, 65 kg and 72 kg. In Greco-Roman style, the categories are 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg and 82 kg.
Wrestlers who have already worked hard to qualify for the Asian Games Trials feel that it is unfair to ask them to appear for trials again.
“We have completed the trials. Now are we training or preparing for yet another trial (worlds)? This is torture. It is very hard on the body.
Now is the time to start preparing for the big tournament without worrying about losing weight,” said a wrestler who won an Asian Games trial.
“There is no point in organizing trials again. They don’t help wrestlers. It’s a tough sport. ” Jian Singh said that everyone will have to attend the trials.