Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)’s ad-hoc committee has allowed wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat to directly go to the Asian Games, scheduled to be held in September - October in Hangzhou, China. The two wrestlers, who have been the face of the protest, will now go to the Asian Games without appearing in trial bouts.

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However, as reported by PTI, there is no such exemption granted to Sakshi Malik. Notably, this decision of exempting Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia has not gone down well within the wrestlers. In one such attempt, fellow wrestler Antim Panghal has challenged Vinesh Phogat’s direct selection into the Indian contingent for the upcoming Games.

This development was confirmed by Antim’s childhood coach Vikash Bhardwaj. “We are moving to the high court and fighting this injustice. They are not giving young wrestlers even a chance at the competition,” he told The Bridge.

“This is unfair. There should be trials, and nobody should be selected directly,” he further added. It is to be noted that Antim Panghal will represent India in the 53kg category at the Asian Games, whereas Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have been selected to represent the women’s 53kg and men’s 65kg respectively.

In an exclusive video going viral, Panghal can be seen talking of her achievements post this decision.

Why Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat got exemption from 2023 Asian Games trials?

This decision comes after the four-member ad-hoc committee decided to hold the trials at the KD Jadhav Stadium in new Delhi on July 22-23.

Additionally, it is said that the selection trial of the WFI for the upcoming 2023 Asian Games has a provision for exemption for icon players. “The selection of all weight categories mandatory, however, the selection committee will have the discretion to select the icon players like medallists of Olympic/World Championships without trials provided recommendation from the chief coach/foreign expert,” the WFI report read.