Facing a lot of criticism due to its decision to exempt Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) from the Asian Games trials, the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad-hoc committee tried to control the damage by announcing undated selection trials for the World Championships, scheduled from September 16 to 24 in Belgrade.
The IOA came to the ad-hoc committee’s support by issuing a release, which stated that “final assessment of the wrestling team will be made prior to departure of the team” for the Asiad, even as two promising wrestlers, World under-20 champion and Asian silver-medallist Antim Panghal and Ranking Series gold medallist and Asian under-23 champion Sujeet Kalkal, on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court demanding fair trials for the mega continental event.
The World Championships will be held from September 16 to 24, while wrestling competitions in the Asian Games will be organized from October 4 to 7. The Asiad trials have been scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, while dates for the Worlds trials for 30 weight categories have not been announced yet. The last date to send entries for the global event, which is also an Olympic qualifier, is August 15. The ad-hoc panel said “no exemption will be given” for the Worlds trials.
World under-20 champion and Asian silver-medallist Antim Panghal and Ranking Series gold medallist and Asian under-23 champion Sujeet Kalkal on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court demanding fair trials. The case will come up for a hearing on Thursday.
In video messages circulated through social media, Antim, Sujeet and Vishal Kaliraman, another prominent wrestler in 65kg, sought fair trials.
“Vinesh has not trained for about a year, whereas I have got medals. All I want is trials,” said Antim.
“Bajrang has been getting an advantage in trials. Five or six of us can beat him. Everyone should get equal opportunity. I want fair trials,” said Sujeet.
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