Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia are facing the anger of the wrestling community after obtaining exemption from the Asian Games trials. He stated on Monday that they are disappointed that young wrestlers brought them before the court but are also excited to see the new grapplers begin to stand up for their rights.
The IOA ad hoc panel held trials in all the eighteen divisions for the Hangzhou Games, but only Bajrang (65 kg) and Vinesh (53 kg) were given direct admission, infuriating many in the wrestling community. Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal, junior wrestlers, took their appeal to the Delhi High Court, seeking the reversal of the exemption, but unfortunately, their petition was rejected. Meanwhile, Bajrang and Vinesh, who are currently training in different locations abroad, addressed the allegations and recent developments through live sessions on social media.
Vinesh Phogat commented:
“We are not against the trials. I can’t blame Antim. She is not wrong. She is fighting for her right and we are fighting for our right. She is too young, she does not understand. But we are not wrong.”
“We fought against the system, against the powerful. We took blows on our heads, no one came forward (then).
“She says she was cheated, but did I cheat (during CWG trials)? If at all it was done, it was done by Brij Bhushan, or got it done. My job was to wrestle, and I did that.
The two-time World Championship medallist added:
“If she felt cheated then she should have gone to court at that time. It hurts. But I am glad the kids have started speaking, they are gathering courage now. It’s positive for wrestling.”
Bajrang said that they would only discuss the subject after the trials and following the verdict of the Delhi High Court on the case.
Bajrang Punia Stated:
“It was said that there are 3-4 wrestlers who can beat Vinesh but dear Antim, Vinesh has not lost (as yet), and will not lose. Antim, you said you became first Indian to win U-20 championship but Vinesh is also the only woman wrestler to have won two Worlds medal. You filed court case against us?,”
Vinesh stated that they are not afraid of trails. She added:
“We have given 20 years to wrestling. She says I have not practised but I was at protest site. We are still hungry. We put everything at stake when we were at the peak of our career. “The effort that they have put in getting these trials done, if that much they had done at dharna, Brij Bhushan would not have been outside today and all of us would have been wrestling. “We did not run away from trials, we just wanted enough time to train. Take our trials, we have not run away from country. Someone wins and someone loses but we can’t be given even one-month time to train?.”
Vinesh made it clear that she would not give up in this manner.
“It’s been 20 years I have been in this sport. Twice I have returned from Olympics without a medal. My mother and I have dreamt of winning at the Olympics. Why should I quit. “The youngsters are being misled. If they say we have done nothing, it’s wrong. It hurts. We also made contributions by winning medals but the sport is being destroyed. People who call themselves God of wrestling do not know how to respect women.”
Bajrang Punia stated that they will not give explanations on a regular basis.