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Four Indian grapplers banned by federation, Rio dreams end

Rio Games dream over for four wrestlers -- Babita, Geeta, Sumit and Rahul -- temporarily banned by federation for indiscipline at Olympic qualifier in Mongolia

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India yesterday issued show cause notices to four wrestlers including the two Phogat sisters — Babita Kumari and Geeta — and handed them temporary suspension for showing indiscipline, bringing their dreams of qualifying for Rio Olympics to an abrupt end.

Geeta Phogat
India wrestlers Geeta Phogat

Besides the Phogat sisters, Sumit (men’s 125kg freestyle) and Rahul Aware (men’s 57kg freestyle), have also been temporarily banned.

Babita Kumari
Babita Kumari

"Four of them have been handed temporary suspension and are barred from taking part in the next Olympic qualification event in Istanbul," Assistant secretary of WFI, Vinod Tomar told PTI.

The last Olympic qualifier — 2nd World Qualification tournament —is in Istanbul, Turkey, from May 6-8.

At the recently concluded 1st World Qualification tournament in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Babita had forfeited her repechage bout in women’s 53kg, while Geeta had pulled out citing injury in 58kg.

Meanwhile, Sumit, who had a chance to book an Olympic berth had he won his repechage round followed by two more bouts, but the heavyweight grappler did not turn up for his repechage bout in 125kg freestyle citing injury.

"All these wrestlers have shown indiscipline at the last tournament. Even if you want to forfeit your bout or have injury concern, there is a way and procedure to officially withdraw. But these wrestlers did not bother to follow any proper
procedure. This reflects very poorly on their as well the country’s part. The world body has also debarred them from the next competition," said the official. The wrestlers have been given time till May 15 for an explanation after which a disciplinary committee will hand them punishments.

"Sumit may be handed a ban because he had a chance of assuring an Olympic quota place for India in the Rio Games in 125kg category.

"While Babita and Geeta did not have a chance of qualifying but they should have followed the procedure even if they did not want to fight and preserve their energy for the next qualification tournament.

"Both Babita and Geeta are barred from going to Turkey. In their place Lalita and Sakshi Malik would be taking part. Similarly, another grappler would represent India in men’s 125kg category in the last qualifying event," Tomar said.

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