Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have not availed the opportunities to train overseas even though the camps proposed by the two ace wrestlers were approved under the Union Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) last month.
Vinesh had sent a proposal to the Ministry on March 10 for an 11-day training camp in Spala, Poland. Bajrang, on March 15, had proposed a 16-day training camp in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan.
The financial assistance would have covered the athletes’ air tickets, camp expenses, including the cost of training, board and lodging and miscellaneous costs such as airport transfer, insurance, internal travel and out-of-pocket allowance.
They were told about the approval on March 20 and were asked to share further details and fitness certificates, which were not received, according to a source in the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Both Vinesh and Bajrang have been at the forefront of the wrestlers’ protest, primarily against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing several allegations including sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation, since January. They are among a few leading wrestlers who have not participated in any national or international competition this year.
The outcome of the Government-appointed Oversight Committee’s probe into the allegations is not known yet.
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