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Wrestlers hit Hisar streets to protest against 'unfair trial exemption'

Source: PTI
July 19, 2023 17:14 IST
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IMAGE: Young wresters took out a protest after an exemption was given to Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Junior world champion Antim Panghal along with several other wrestlers of national repute were out on the streets on Wednesday to protest against IOA ad-hoc panel's "unfair" decision to exempt Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat from the Asian Games trials.

The protesting wrestlers including Panghal, family members of Vishal Kaliraman, who competes in Bajrang's category, assembled at Chhotu Ram Chowk in Hisar, demanding that trials be conducted in all weight categories.

Wrestlers from Baba Laldas Akhada in Hisar and the famous Chhatrasal Stadium in New Delhi also joined the protest along with senior citizens from nearby villages.

"We are here to protest against this decision of the IOA ad-hoc panel. We are here today and will decide later in the evening if we have to comeback tomorrow," Ram Niwas, Panghal's father, told PTI.


Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang (65kg) and World championship medallist Vinesh (53kg) led the month-long wrestlers' protest at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar against outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing multiple charges of sexual harassment.

Panghal, the U-20 world champion in 53kg, has already released a video questioning ad-hoc panel' decision to exempt Vinesh from the women's 53 kg freestyle category for the Hangzhou edition starting September 23.

Panghal, a resident of village Bhagana in Hisar, told reporters that not only her but there are many other wrestlers who can defeat Vinesh in the 53 kg weight category.

The 19-year-old said that she feels "cheated" after supporting Bajrang and Vinesh in their "dharna" in New Delhi against Brij Bhushan, last January.

Lilly Sisai, one of Panghal's earlier coaches, said that they will stage a "dharna" at the IG Stadium in Delhi, where trials will be held on July 22-23, if the exemption isn't withdrawn.  

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