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Bajrang Punia and other Indian Wrestlers opt out, Leaving India Vacant in Zagreb Open’s Major Showdowns

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No Indian wrestlers are set to compete in all five categories at the Zagreb Open in Croatia. Notably, athletes such as Bajrang Punia and Antim Panghal, among three others, have declined to grant approval for their participation to the ad-hoc panel responsible for overseeing the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Panghal, who is slated to receive the Arjuna Award during the competition period, has chosen to abstain from the event.

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Bajrang Punia, a prominent figure in the wrestling community, was notably absent from the men’s freestyle category in protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. In the absence of Bajrang, the ad-hoc panel selected other Indian Wrestling Players namely, Aman Sehrawat (57kg), Yash (74kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Vicky (97kg), and Sumit Malik (125kg), all of whom had previously participated in the Hangzhou Asian Games. Bhupinder Singh Bajwa, the head of the ad-hoc panel, informed PTI that consent was sought from the wrestlers who were part of the Asian Games squad, with only 13 providing consent while five others declined.

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