Antim Panghal Questions Vinesh Phogat's Direct Entry to Asian Games

Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have been exempted from the trails for this year's Asian Games.

2 min read
Hindi Female

Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, who sat for the protest against the sidelined Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have been given direct entry to the Asian Games 2023 without appearing for trials, causing a stir in the wrestling community.

Antim Panghal, the wrestler from Haryana who also is an U20 world champion, has reportedly decided to move high court to challenge the decision of the ad-hoc committee.

“The selection of all weight categories is mandatory, however, the selection committee will have the discretion to select the iconic players like the medallists of Olympics/World Championships without trials provided recommendation from the chief coach/foreign expert," the selection criteria reads.


In a video statement released by Panghal, the young grappler said, “Vinesh (Phogat) has been given direct entry for Asian Games despite not practicing for the past year. I won the gold medal in the 2022 Junior World Championship. Even in the Commonwealth Games trial, I had a 3-3 bout with her. Then too, I was cheated. I let it go and thought I would compete in Asian Games, but now they say Vinesh has been selected for the tournament. Is this the right way?”

“They are saying whoever goes to Asian Games will go for World Championship, and those who win World Championship will go for the Olympics. We have been working hard for so many years. What about that? Should I quit wrestling? On what basis is she being sent without trial? Even Sakshi Malik has not been selected? What is special about Vinesh that she got selected? All I want is a fair trial. I’m not saying that only I can defeat her, many women wrestlers out there can do so. They are going for the tournament, but tell me can they win medals in the future?," she further added.


Other Wrestlers Join Antim

Meanwhile, another female wrestler, Anju also criticised the decision, saying “I object (the decision) and trials should be conducted for every wrestler. Everyone is training hard since last 1 year for the Asian Games. She (Vinesh) hasn’t participated in any competition for last 1 year,” she said.

Vishal Kaliraman also opposed the exemption given to Bajrang while speaking to ANI. He said, “Even I play in the under 65kg category, and for the Asian Games, Bajrang Punia has been given direct entry without any trial. They have been staging a protest for a year now while we have been practicing. We appeal for a trial, we don’t want any favor or benefit. At least a trial should be conducted. Otherwise, we are ready to go the court…We will appeal before the court. We’ve been practicing for 15 years…If Bajrang Punia denies that he will not play in the Asian Games, only then will someone else get a chance.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from sports and wrestling

Topics:  Vinesh Phogat   Asian Games   Bajrang Punia 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More