Wednesday, July 17

Vinesh Phogat Gets Green Light to Compete in Two Weight Categories at Wrestling Trials, Books Olympic Qualifier Spot

Vinesh Phogat Gets Green Light to Compete in Two Weight Categories at Wrestling Trials, Books Olympic Qualifier Spot

Vinesh Phogat, the decorated Indian wrestler and a vocal critic of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) leadership, secured a dramatic victory at the national wrestling trials in Patiala. However, the path to her win was far from ordinary.

Unconventional Move, Exceptional Result

Despite UWW rules allowing participation in only one weight category, Vinesh demanded and received permission to compete in both the 50kg and 53kg categories. This unusual request caused a two-and-a-half-hour delay in the competition schedule.

Vinesh emerged victorious in the 50kg category, defeating Shivani 11-6. This win secures her a spot at the Paris Olympics Qualification tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, next month. However, she lost the 53kg bout to Anju by technical superiority.

Committee Approves Vinesh’s Request

The ad-hoc committee overseeing the wrestling trials, chaired by Bhupender Singh Bajwa, acknowledged that allowing Vinesh to compete in both categories went against UWW regulations. However, the committee unanimously agreed to accommodate her request.

Looking Ahead: The Road to Paris for Vinesh Phogat

The winners of the Patiala trials, including Vinesh in the 50kg category, will proceed to the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan. Following that, the World Olympic Qualifiers will be held in May.

For wrestlers who finished second in their respective weight categories, including Anju in the 53kg (who defeated Vinesh), the path involves competing in the Asian Championships (also held in Kyrgyzstan). The winner of that event will then face the Olympic quota winner in a late May trial before potentially participating in the Olympics.

Vinesh’s Perspective

Vinesh expressed her elation at securing a spot in the Olympic Qualifiers for the 50kg category. Although this is a significant step, her ultimate goal remains an Olympic medal. She highlighted the challenges she faced in the past, particularly regarding weight management and recovery after surgery. Vinesh also expressed concern about the lack of government support for wrestling in India.

Uncertainties Remain

While Vinesh’s win is a positive development, it raises questions about the adherence to international wrestling regulations. The situation also underscores the ongoing challenges within the WFI administration. Vinesh’s journey to Paris promises to be filled with both determination and uncertainty.

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