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Bajrang, Vinesh, Sakshi, Invited For 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers Trials By WFI

Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have threatened to restart their protest, saying a federation led by Sanjay Singh is not acceptable. However, in a recent update, the WFI president has assured a fair Paris Olympic qualifiers trials for the Indian wrestlers

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Indian wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik in a protest against the Wrestling Federation of India. (File Photo)
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WFI President Sanjay Singh on Friday assured that the protesting wrestlers' trio of Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik would not face any discrimination and he would personally approach them for appearance in the Olympic Qualifiers trials, which will be held in Maharashtra. (More Sports News)

World governing body UWW had lifted the provisional suspension imposed on the WFI with a rider that no wrestler should face discrimination.

Punia, Phogat and Malik had led a protest against former WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they have accused of sexual exploitation of women wrestlers. The elite wresters are also against Sanjay Singh's election as WFI chief, saying that he is a Brij Bhushan loyalist and his election is a threat to women wrestlers.

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"We have started planning to take Indian wrestling forward. We will soon organise trials for the Olympic Qualifying events in Maharashtra. The state has good infrastructure. I will ask Bajrang, Vinesh and Sakshi to forget everything and start preparing for trials and win medals for the country," Sanjay Singh told PTI.

Malik and Punia have even threatened to restart their protest, saying a federation led by Sanjay Singh is not acceptable. They have even written to the UWW seeking help.

"I will send all three wrestlers emails, whatsapp message and, if need be, I will call them. I will even ask Sakshi to reconsider her decision to retire and give it one more shot to win an Olympic medal. They will not face any discrimination," he added.

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So far, India have locked Paris Olympics quota in women's 53kg category through Antim Panghal.

Indians can qualify in 17 more weight categories across men's freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling.

The wrestlers have two final chances to earn qualification through Asian Qualifying event in Bishkek from April 19-21 and World Qualifier in Istanbul from May 9-12.

"We told UWW that the suspension on WFI was imposed for not holding elections and now that the elections have been held, our status should be restored. We told them how the junior wrestlers are suffering and how India are going unrepresented in many weight categories at international events without a proper federation in place.

"They discussed the matter with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and with the UWW Board on February 9. They agreed with our viewpoint and lifted the temporary suspension. Now there should not be any confusion who the wrestlers should approach," said Sanjay.

NATIONAL CAMPS MAY MOVE TO NEW VENUES

The WFI President also hinted that the national camp for both men and women could be moved to a new venue.

Earlier, SAI centres in Sonepat (men) and Lucknow (women) were the venues for the camps.

"We feel Maharashtra has good infrastructure for men's national camp. Let's see if we can move it there. We will discuss it with the government. The SAI centres are under the government, so we need their permission if the camps have to be held at SAI centres. If we do not get permission then other arrangements have to be made," the WFI President said.

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