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Vinesh Phogat Accuses WFI Chief Of Trying To End Her Olympic Dream

Phogat is eyeing an Olympic quota in the 50kg category in the Asian qualifying tournament next week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat speaks at the protest site in Jantar Mantar Photo: File

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat took to social media as she lashed out at Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Sanjay Singh by accusing of him for conspiring against her and trying to stop her from competing in the Olympic qualifiers. (More Wrestling News)

“Brij Bhushan and his dummy Sanjay Singh are trying in every way to stop me from playing in the Olympics. All the coaches who have been appointed with the team are the favourites of Brij Bhushan and his team, so it cannot be denied that they may mix something in my water and make me drink it during my match?” Phogat wrote on ‘X.’

“If I say that there could be a conspiracy to trap me in doping, then it will not be wrong.

“For the past one month, I have been requesting the Government of India (SAI, TOPS) for the accreditation of my coach and physio. Without accreditation, it is not possible for my coach and physio to accompany me to the competition arena,” she said.

“But despite repeated requests, I am not getting any concrete answer from anywhere. No one is ready to help. Will the future of players always be played with like this?

“No stone is being left unturned to mentally harass us. How far is it justified to torture us like this before such an important competition?” she asked.

The 29-year-old Phogat, who won 53kg bronze medals in the 2019 and 2022 World Championships besides a gold in the 2018 Asian Games (in 50kg), also said she is fearful of being trapped in a doping case.

“Will we face politics even before we go to play for the country because we raised our voice against sexual harassment? Is this the punishment for raising voice against wrong in our country? “I hope we will get justice before we go to play for the country,” she said.

Making the Federation's stand clear, a WFI official, who did not wish to be named, told PTI that it had no objection if Phogat wants to travel with her personal coach and physio but she herself has to get the accreditation from the UWW since the deadline to send entries is already over.

"Her e-mail was primarily directed to the ad-hoc panel and the TOPS CEO even as the federation was also marked in it. She sent her request on March 18 but the federation had already registered the support staff by then.

"And, we did not get any directive from the Ministry or SAI that Phogat's coach has to be added to the list. We could have tried, if we had any such instruction. After all, the mail was primarily given to them.

"See, we are allowed to send three coaches for 10 players. Nine coaches are already in Bishkek for the Asian Championship for 30 wrestlers and the same set of coaches will be there for the Asian Qualifier where we will have only five women wrestlers competing. Are three coaches not enough for five wrestlers?

"Why send extra coaches? But if Vinesh wants her personal coach in Bishkek, she can try to get it done from UWW. We have no objection to that."

Phogat was one of the three top wrestlers of the country who led a protracted protest against former WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexually harassing women wrestlers.

After a case was filed against Brij Bhushan by Delhi Police, a local court granted him bail in July.

She wondered if the difficulties she is facing now are due to the protest she led alongside Olympic bronze medal winners Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik.

(With PTI inputs)