Sonipat, 19 June
Wrestlers, who have been protesting over the issue of sexual harassment allegations against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have now made a fresh start to prepare for competitions. Wrestlers have started training at the Sports Authority of India’s Bahalgarh in Sonepat in preparation for the Asian Games trials. The atmosphere at the SAI center is upbeat once again as top wrestlers return to the playing field. Other practicing wrestlers, who were affected in one way or the other by the protests, also heaved a sigh of relief. This is considered a good sign for the Indian wrestling world.
Vinesh Phogat leading the protest against Brijbhushan Sharan Singh is also seen at Sai Kendra, Sonepat. At the same time, Bajrang Punia and his wife Sangeeta Phogat are also reaching for practice. Not only this, Sangeeta’s sister Geeta Phogat along with her husband Pawan Saroha once again appeared on the wrestling mat after about one and a half years. A coach associated with Sai told that the wrestlers, who have been away from the wrestling mat for more than one and a half months, are initially spending more time in the gym. He believes that wrestlers who have been away from the field for a long time may take some time to get into the rhythm. The coach told on the condition of anonymity that after the top wrestlers returned to the ground, the rest of the wrestlers have also become normal. Positive atmosphere is bound to have an impact on the sports performance of all wrestlers, due to which Indian wrestlers will be able to win more medals in international competitions.
Olympic Council sought time till August 10
The wrestlers involved in the protests had requested the Sports Ministry to hold the Asian Games trials in August, citing the need to regain physical fitness. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has sought a list of players from all sports federations by June 30. As per the earlier deadline, the IOA has to send the names of all the athletes participating in the Asian Games to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) by July 15. In view of the request of the wrestlers, the IOA has approached the OCA for wrestling and has sought time till August 10.