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Protest against Asian Games 2023 wrestling trials exemption reaches IOA doors

Updated on: 20 July,2023 05:16 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

Junior wrestlers, their parents and coaches reached the IOA headquarters on Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of exemption granted to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from Asian Games 2023 trials

Protest against Asian Games 2023 wrestling trials exemption reaches IOA doors

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat were granted trial exemption for Asian Games 2023

Displeased with the decision to grant Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat direct entry into Asian games 2023, several junior wrestlers, their parents and coaches reached Indian Olympic Association (IOA) headquarters here on Thursday, demanding withdrawal of the trial exemption.

This comes a day after similar protest was staged in Haryana's Hisar.

Around 150 people, including family members of the wrestlers, are seeking a meeting with IOA President P T Usha and ad-hoc panel chief Bhupender Singh Bajwa.

"All we want is a meeting with IOA top brass. We will not accept any biased decision. This is wrong. We are here to request the panel to withdraw exemption granted to Bajrang and Vinesh," Vikas Bhardhwaj, the coach of promising Antim Panghal, told PTI.

The reigning U20 World Champion Panghal and U23 Asian Champion Sujeet Kalkal had slammed the ad-hoc committee's decision as unjust and unfair and asserted that they are capable of beating Bajrang and Vinesh if they are pitted against them in the trials.

The duo were, however, not present at the IOA Bhawan.

Also Read: Antim Panghal questions Asian Games trials exemption to Vinesh Phogat: 'What's so special about her?'

The IOA ad hoc panel, led by Bajwa, had on Tuesday announced the criteria, saying trials will be held in all categories but they have already selected wrestlers in men's free style 65kg and women's 53kg weight class.

Panghal and Sujeet have also filed a petition at the Delhi Hight Court, demanding that a directive be issued to the IOA ad-hoc committee to quash the exemption granted to Bajrang and Vinesh.

In a tweet, World Championships and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Anshu Malik, who was part of the wrestlers' protest at Jantar Mantar in January, expressed her support for the junior grapplers.

"An athlete's biggest dream is to win medals at events such as the Olympics and Asian Games and make all the countrymen proud but what if the rights of those players are snatched," Anshu, who competes in the women's 57kg category, tweeted.

"The demand for trials by junior players is correct and it is their right. I support the demand by the junior players," she wrote in another tweet.

Earlier, parents and coaches had also expressed displeasure after IOA ad-hoc panel reduced the Asian Games and World Championship selection to a one-bout competition for six protesting wrestlers.

(With PTI inputs)

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