Wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, who had previously requested time to prepare for upcoming trials, have received approval from the Sports Ministry for their training tours in abroad. Bajrang Punia will travel to Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan for 36 days. Meanwhile, Vinesh Phogat will visit Bishkek for a week and then proceed to Tata, Hungary for 18 days of training.
In a significant turn of events, the wrestlers’ departure in early July indicates their decision not to continue street protests, as previously announced on social media.
Wrestler Punia will be accompanied by coach Sujeet Maan, physiotherapist Anuj Gupta, sparring partner Jitender Kinha, and strength and conditioning expert Kaazi Hasan. Vinesh will be joined by physiotherapist Ashwini Jeevan Patil, coach Sudesh, and sparring partner Sangeeta Phogat, who is also Punia’s wife and a participant in the earlier protest.
The expense of Patil, Gupta, and Hasan will be covered by Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), a non-profit sports promotion foundation. The IOA-appointed ad-hoc panel, which is responsible for overseeing the game, recently reduced the upcoming selection trials to a single-bout competition for the six protesting wrestlers. These wrestlers will only need to defeat the winners of the trials to secure their positions in the Indian teams for the Asian Games and World Championship.