Ticket gaffe disallows Mahavir from watching Babita’s feat

Babita Phogat’s father and coach Mahavir Phogat could not witness her silver-winning effort at the Commonwealth Games as he could not get tickets.

Babita Kumari with her mother and father Mahavir Phogat, after her final bout. Photo: Facebook/Rahul Phogat

Mahavir Phogat missed watching daughter Babita Phogat’s silver-winning effort at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday as he could not get tickets to get inside the venue on time.

The coach was here to watch defending gold-medallist Babita compete in the 53kg category. However, he could only wait outside as his daughter grappled inside the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre. Babita said, “My father came for the first time to watch my bout and I am sad that he has been here since morning but could not get tickets. An athlete is entitled to two tickets but we have not even been given those. I tried so much, but he had to sit outside. He couldn’t watch it here and he couldn’t watch it on [television] either.”

Read: Babita settles for silver

Mahavir Phogat finally managed to make it inside when the Australian wrestling team came to Babita’s aid and offered two tickets to her. Elaborating her ordeal, Babita said, “He managed to come inside after I asked the Australian team for a couple of passes. They helped me get him into the arena. I had requested everyone, [including] the IOA [and the] chef-de-mission. I was requesting till 10pm [on Wednesday] even though I had bouts today and I had to rest.”

“It makes you feel bad. I spoke to everyone, including chef-de-mission,” she added.

‘Maybe demand was too high’

Chef-de-mission Vikram Sisodia said the tickets marked for wrestlers had been given to their coach Rajeev Tomar and it was up to him to distribute them. “We give what we get from Commonwealth Games Federation to respective coaches. We gave five tickets for wrestling, we gave those to Tomar, I don’t know why she could not get a ticket. Maybe the demand was too high,” he told PTI.

A way by which the ordeal could have been bypassed was gaining accreditation access for the parent. On the matter, Babita said, “It was the first time my father came this far to see me fight. I feel sad, he kept waiting. I don’t care if he got accreditation or not, for me it was just a matter of tickets, that’s all. At least he could have watched.”

She added, “But if one athlete’s parent gets accreditation, others should also get [it], why should just one athlete get that?”