Punjab Wrestling Association tells ad-hoc panel not to give Bajrang Punia exemption from Asian Games trials

New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Pressure continued to mount on IOA’s ad-hoc panel for holding fair Asian Games trials with Punjab Wrestling Association (PWA) on Friday categorically telling the committee that it would field Jaskaran Singh in the 65kg competition and no wrestler should be picked in that weight class without a contest.

PWA Secretary General R S Kundu wrote a letter to panel head Bhupender Singh Bajwa, conveying that the committee must not hand exemption to any wrestler (read Bajang Punia) in the trials.

“It is injustice to Mr Jaskaran Singh if selection trial will not be conducted when it is a right of every eligible wrestler in each weight category to participate in selection trials for Asian Games 2023,” the letter read.

“Punjab Wrestling Association strongly recommend the name of Mr Jaskaran Singh (for) freestyle wrestling and request the ad-hoc committee to conduct selection trials for Asian Games in 65kg weight category.” Bajrang Punia has made the 65kg weight class his own on the back of stupendous show in international tournaments. He won a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and is a multiple medal winner at the World Championships.

Jaskaran had finished fourth at the U23 Asian Championship last month and is a silver medallist from the 2021 Cadet World Championship.

On Friday, 24 women wrestlers from Chhotu Ram Akhada had also requested the panel to give a fair chance to all wrestlers for a shot at the Asian Games-bound Indian squad.

The wrestlers had marked their mails to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and IOA President PT Usha.

CRITERIA STILL NOT CLEAR ================= The ad-hoc panel is still undecided on the criteria and format for the trials that are scheduled to be held on July 22-23 at Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.

According to panel member Gian Singh, a meeting will be held on Saturday to decide on the final criteria and so far they have deliberated upon three options. As per discussion among committee members, the panel can send the names of the six protesting wrestlers — Bajrang, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Jitender Kinha, Satyawart Kadian and Sangeeta Phogat — as reserves.

However, it will be extremely difficult to replace the names unless there is an injury to a selected wrestler.

The second option, the panel has discussed is that after holding initial trials, it will pick country’s best four wrestlers in each category and ask them to fight against the six protesting wrestlers and the final winner goes to Hangzhou where the Games will begin on September 13.

The third option is to just go ahead with the trails on July 22-23 and whoever competes and wins, will book his place in the Indian team.

“Honestly speaking, Sangeeta and Jitender Kinha don’t stand much chance in the trials while Sakshi and Satyawart have 50-50 chance, so the issue is basically about two wrestlers, Vinesh and Bajrang,” said a panel member.

Source: PTI News


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