A week after the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) announced that 15 freestyle wrestlers, which also include the famed Phogat sisters that would be banned from attending the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, to be held in August-September, wrestlers Babita and Geeta Phogat have come out with their version of the story on the whole controversy.
The Wrestling Federation of India had earlier, sent show-cause notices to the all the wrestlers (male and female) who did not show up at the training camps that were being held prior to the trials for Asian Games 2018. The male and female camps were held from May 10-25, in Sonepat and Lucknow respectively.
Three Phogat sisters allowed to train at the Asian Games Camp
The good news for three out of the five Phogat sisters is that the WFI now had a change of heart. Geeta, Ritu and Sangeeta will now be allowed to enter the wrestling camp for the upcoming Asian Games.
However, Babita Phogat still remains barred from entering the national camp as her explanation from missing the camp has not made the officials happy. We had earlier done the story on why and how the Phogat sisters were suspended on grounds of indiscipline.
But for the three wrestlers they will now start the preparations for the upcoming Mini-Olympics in Indonesia.
Phogat Sisters Controversy – Here’s Babita’s take
One of the Phogat sisters, Babita Phogat, who still is barred from the Asian Games trails camp told the media that she was suffering from a knee injury and therefore did not show up.
“I was feeling pain in my knee during the 2018 Commonwealth Games also. But as I was in the national squad, I did not pay much heed and went on to play. However, after returning the pain has aggravated and I had to visit my doctor at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. I might not have appeared for the trials, but they (WFI) should have at least sent us a notice on the issue,” Babita was quoted as saying by TOI.
“The WFI was involved in the processing of the visas of Ritu and Sangeeta for a camp in Russia. There is a provision that if players want to train abroad with better facilities, they can skip the national camp. Earlier, Sushil Kumar and Bajrang Punia have also done the same. But since federation was aware of this fact, I don’t why their names have been excluded,” Babita Phogat added.
Phogat Sisters Controversy – Here’s Geeta’s take
Babita’s elder sister Geeta said she was undergoing treatment for her knee in Bengaluru.
“I had severe pain in my knee since last month and I had come to Bangalore for treatment. I had written an email to the federation and had already booked the tickets. I will be joining the national camp on soon,” said Geeta.
“We train diligently and do not want to miss training. If we have missed the national camp, there might be serious reason for it,” she added.
A second consideration made possible for the Phogat Sisters
Vice President of WFI, Raj Kanwar Hooda told TOI, “A panel will be constituted by the president which will consider the requests of the athletes. If the players give relevant reasons in the show-cause notice, the panel will take them into consideration and then give a verdict. I think they can return to the camp if they give valid reasons.”
Meanwhile, Haryana sports minister, Anil Vij requested the WFI to reconsider the players’ exclusion.
“I request the WFI to reconsider the players’ requests as it would hamper the medal prospects in Asian Games,” Anil said.