Wrestler Sangeeta Phogat secured a bronze medal finish at the Hungary ranking series 2023 after a 4-2 victory over Viktoria Borsos. The series was a mixed experience for Phogat, who was happy with a podium finish, but also disappointed with her showing against American Jennifer Page Rogers, a match where she was humiliated with a 10-0 loss. The third place medal was a point of some discussion online because of Phogat’s recent protest against the WFI.
Phogat and other wrestlers have been involved in a drawn out protest against WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was accused of sexual misconduct against female wrestlers. This included a sit-in protest at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi and was followed by a march to the new Parliament building which was eventually stopped by police and barricades. The Chief controversy later resulted in the involved wrestlers then being asked to be allowed to trial for the Asian Games in August. The postponement’s reason was their involvement in the protest against Singh. The IOC panel not only granted them the later date, but also allowed them to directly compete against the winners of the trials prior.
Some called her ‘anti-national’, and ‘Andolan Jeevi’ (a term coined by the Prime Minister referring to people who cannot live without protesting). Others celebrated her embarrassing defeat to Rogers and questioned the IOC panel’s decision to make it significantly easier for Phogat to qualify for the Hangzhou Games.
Vinesh Phogat withdraws from Budapest ranking seri es
Sangeeta Phogat’s cousin Vinesh Phogat has opted not to participate in the Budapest ranking series. She was also involved in the recent protests against the WFI Chief, and has not appeared in a competitive setting since the 2022 World Championships in Budapest.
The wrestler cited ‘fever and food poisoning’ as the reason for her withdrawal, but the situation may not be as clear cut. Phogat has recently been in some trouble with the National Anti-Doping Agency and has been given two weeks to reply to an allegation of failure to comply with anti-doping requirements.
Earlier this week a Doping Control Officer tried and failed to get in touch with Phogat or her husband. They were unavailable at their home and through the phone.