Vinesh, Bajrang face possible withdrawal from Asian games


Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat should be withdrawn from India’s Asian Games squad if they lose the upcoming trials for the World Championships, it will be proposed to the IOA’s ad-hoc pane. Punia (men’s freestyle 65kg) and Phogat (women’s 53kg) were given direct entries for the quadrennial showpiece while other candidates in the remaining 16 Olympic weight categories went through gruelling trials on July 22-23 to book their places in the Indian team for the Hangzhou Games, beginning September 23.
Punia, Phogat and four other wrestlers, who staged a sit-in protest 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 Asia did not extend the deadline beyond July 23 for receiving wrestling entries by name. The IOA ad-hoc panel then decided to conduct trials but exempted both Punia and Phogat, triggering angry reactions from the wrestling fraternity, which alleged bias in the decision.”We will propose to the panel that only if Bajrang and Vinesh win the World Championship trials, only then they should be sent for the Asian Games, otherwise not. If Bajrang loses the trial then the winner of the Asian Games trial (Vishal Kaliraman) will go,” Gian Singh, a member of the panel told.
As of now Kaliraman (men’s freestyle 65kg) and Antim Panghal (women’s 53kg) are standby players, having won the Asian Games trials in categories where Bajrang and Vinesh compete. The exempted wrestler will be pitted against the grappler who lost the final. “Then the winners of these bouts should clash against each other to win a place in Indian team for Worlds,” Gian Singh explained.
“This is what we are going to propose in the next ad-hoc committee meeting. Let’s see if they agree.