Drama at wrestling trials: Vinesh wins 50kg bout after holding up proceedings in the morning

Vinesh, who had come out in support of athletes who had accused former WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment, turned up at the SAI centre to compete in the 50kg trials.

Published : Mar 11, 2024 13:25 IST , Chennai - 2 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat
FILE PHOTO: Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap/ The Hindu

FILE PHOTO: Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap/ The Hindu

In an unusual development, double World championships bronze medallist Vinesh Phogat competed in two Olympic weights, 50kg and 53kg, on the same day and emerged as the winner in the lighter division in the selection trials for the Asian wrestling championships and Asian Olympic Games qualifier held at Patiala on Monday.

Vinesh demanded that the 53kg trials be held on Tuesday to let her compete in both weights. After it was decided that the selection could not be stretched to the next day, the ad-hoc committee conducting the trials along with the technical committee decided to allow her to fight in both weights since ‘there is no rule which stops a wrestler from competing in two weights in a trial.’

According to the United World Wrestling’s Article-7, “Each contestant deemed to be taking part of his/her own free will, and responsible for himself/herself, shall be allowed to compete in only one weight category: the one corresponding to his weight at the time of the official weigh-in.”

READ | Wrestling stars of Tokyo bundled out in selection trials for Paris Olympic qualifiers

Vinesh rallied to beat National champion Nirmala Devi 10-0 in the semifinal and Shivanee Pawar 11-6 in the 50kg final, giving herself a chance to win a quota place in the lower weight.

As per the ad-hoc committee guidelines, a challenger would be able to fight with Antim Panghal (who is supposed to participate in the Asian championships), the lone quota place winner in 53kg, in the Paris Olympic trials.

Vinesh lost 10-0 to Anju in the 53kg semifinals after ensuring that she remained in the top-four and was eligible to be a challenger to Antim in her preferred weight.

Talking to reporters after the trials, Vinesh said since there is no clarity (as guidelines may or may not change after the Wrestling Federation of India takes full charge of wrestling affairs) whether a challenger would be able to fight with Antim in 53kg, she chose to compete in both weights.

The selected wrestlers:
Women (Barring 53kg, No.2 in Olympic weights will compete in Asian championships) : Olympic weights: 50kg: 1. Vinesh, 2. Shivanee Pawar; 53kg: 1. Anju; 57kg: 1. Anshu Malik, 2. Sarita Mor; 62kg: 1. Mansi Ahlawat, 2. Manisha; 68kg: 1. Nisha Dahiya, 2. Radhika; 76kg: 1. Reetika, 2. Priya Malik; Non-Olympic weight: 55kg: Tamanna; 59kg: Pushpa Yadav; 65kg: Antim Kundu; 72kg: Harshita.
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