NEW DELHI, JUNE 05,
The Wrestling Federation of India has officially exempted four wrestlers from trials ahead of the Asian Games team selection later this week.
While the decision was on expected lines with the wrestlers having made a request for the same a fortnight ago, the WFI on Monday officially confirmed the same. It allowed Bajrang Punia (65kg), Sushil Kumar (74kg), Vinesh Phogat (50kg) and Sakshi Malik (62kg) to continue training without bothering about the trials. Of the four, Punia is currently training in Georgia and Sushil is training on his own while the other two are part of the national camp. “We had sent many of the these wrestlers — Praveen Rana (74kg), Rahul Aware (57kg), Jitender (79kg), Sumit Malik (125kg) et al — for the Asian Championships specially to assess their levels and none of them had any impressive performance. The selection committee was very clear that the CWG performances cannot be taken as a benchmark given the difference in competition,” said a senior WFI official. Aware and Malik are both gold medallists from Gold Coast. While not officially confirmed, the fact that Rana has also been struggling with injuries perhaps made the decision easier for the WFI in the 74kg that features Sushil.
“We need to forget the past rancour and look at the future. As a prominent, twice Olympic medallist wrestler with a very clear target of gold at Asiad, the federation has to consider all aspects. Same with Bajrang, one of only two freestyle wrestlers to win a medal at the Asian Championships and also silver medallist in 2014,” he said. Asked about chances of litigation — the bane of the federation for a long time now specially after a Delhi High Court directive that mandated trials for all selections — the official said there were little chances of the same given that only the most recent performances have been considered before taking the decision. Interestingly, it was Sushil who had gone to court seeking trials before Olympics.
The trials for men would be held at SAI Centre, Sonepat on June 9 and at SAI Centre, Lucknow on June 10 for women with the final teams announced the same day. Freestyle competition at Asian Games would be in six weight categories each for men, women and in Greco-Roman event.