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Yogeshwar questions favouritism in wrestling trials

Source: PTI
June 23, 2023 15:23 IST
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Yogeshwar questions ‘unfair’ trial exemption given to 6 wrestlers by IOA ad-hoc panel

Wrestlers

IMAGE: Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia and his wife Sangeeta during their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Photograph: PTI

London Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt on Friday launched a scathing attack on the IOA ad-hoc panel for exempting six protesting wrestlers from Asian Games and World Championship trials, and questioned if these grapplers were agitating to get such favours.

The panel had communicated to Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, his wife Sangeeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik, her husband Satyawart Kadian and Jitender Kinha on June 16 that they will have to just wrestle with the winners of the trials in their respective categories to book their slots in the Indian teams.

 

The panel also promised the six wrestlers that their one-bout trials will be conducted in August, as requested them.

Dutt, who is a BJP leader, said the panel, headed by Bhupender Sngh Bajwa, had done injustice to the junior wrestlers of the country by taking such a step.

"I don't understand what criteria the ad-hoc panel has followed in deciding about the trials, and that too for all six wrestlers," Dutt said in a video, he posted on Twitter.

Dutt, who was part of the six-member oversight committee tasked by the sports ministry to initially probe the sexual harassment charges against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, said if the panel had to grant exemptions for trials then there were several other deserving candidates.

"Ravi Dahiya is an Olympic silver medallist and also CWG gold medallist, Deepak Punia is CWG gold medallist, Anshu Malik is a World silver medallist, Sonam Malik is also there along with many more (achievers).

"I don't understand why these six wrestlers have been given the exemption. This is absolutely wrong. This was not done by even in the the previous WFI set up."

The 40-year-old Dutt, who also won two CWG gold medals, exhorted the junior wrestlers, their coaches and parents to raise voice against this injustice.

"I request all greco roman, men's free style and women wrestlers to raise their voices (against this discrimination). You also sit on protest, write letters to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and IOA.

"Never in the history of Indian wrestling such a step has been taken. Even if they sent teams without trails, top team was picked. Exemptions have been given in the past but that was not for everyone, Only the outstanding performers and in-form wrestlers(were considered)."

"These (six) wrestlers are away from the mat for the last one year, so this is wrong," he said.

Dutt further appealed to the Khap Panchayats, farmer organisations to take note of developments, asking them to understand the motives of the wrestlers.

"See for yourself, who is getting benefitted out of this decision."

"This protest was organised to report sexual harassment or to get these exemptions. These wresters have written a letter to IOA adhoc committee, asking for exemption from trials and delay them. Sexual harassment case is in court, the culprit will be punished."

Dutt was also baffled that coaches Gyan Singh and Ranbir Dhaka, who were part of a 'Kushti Kusht Niwaran Samiti' in Haryana, are silent on this.

"I have no interest in all this, I am passionate about wrestling so I have come out. I feel this is wrong being done to junior wrestler," he said. 

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