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Bajrang opts out of Worlds trials to chase Asiad gold

August 26, 2023 21:26 IST

Bajrang Punia

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Bajrang Punia/Instagram

Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia is set to leave for Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan to train for the upcoming Asian Games after skipping the trials for the World Championship held in Patiala on Saturday.

The World Championship is scheduled to commence in Belgrade on September 16 and with Bajrang skipping the trials, he has made it clear he just wants to concentrate on the continental showpiece in Hangzhou.

"Bajrang did not appear for the trials for the Worlds in Patiala today. He has submitted his fitness certificate as required by the Sports Authority of India and should leave for Kyrgyzstan shortly to train for the Asian Games," said IOA-constituted ad-hoc committee member for wrestling Gian Singh on Saturday.


Bajrang had requested the Sports Ministry he wanted to skip the World Championships trials and instead focus on his preparations for the Asian Games in Hangzhou from September 23.

The ministry had then asked for a fitness certificate from Bajrang, which he provided and was accepted by the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC).

Bajrang will be accompanied on his five-week-long training stint in Kyrgyzstan by his coach, strength & conditioning expert, physiotherapist and sparring partner.

Bajrang had received exemption from appearing for the Asian Games trials last month in New Delhi following his plea that he was not in peak physical shape after a nearly two-month-long protest at Jantar Mantar.

He was given direct entry to compete in the Asian Games despite his rival in the 65kg category Vishal Kaliraman topping the trials.

The "injustice" done to Vishal did not go down well with the khaps, who had all along supported Bajrang in his protest against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Several khaps have been questioning the exemption given to Bajrang from appearing in the Asian Games trials and the wrestler getting a direct entry to the Asian Games.

Bajrang has now indicated that he might withdraw from the Asian Games if the khaps, who backed him during the protest at Jantar Mantar, tell him to do so on September 10.

The Khap Mahapanchayat on September 10 has now become a show of strength between Bajrang and Vishal Kaliraman.

"All those khap panchayats, all those Chaudhury organisation members who joined in the protest at Jantar Mantar, gather them together. Whatever command they give, I am ready to obey that," the Tokyo bronze-medal winner had said on Thursday.

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