Facing flak from the wrestling world for accepting exemption from Asian Games trials, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia on Monday said they are pained that young wrestlers have dragged them to court but at the same time they are happy that junior wrestlers have started fighting for their rights. The Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) ad hoc panel conducted trials in all 18 categories for the Hangzhou Asian Games but decided to give direct entries to Bajrang (65kg) and Vinesh (53kg), drawing flak from the wrestling fraternity. Junior wrestlers Avinash Panghal and Sajit Kalkal approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the exemption but their plea was rejected. Both Bajrang and Vinesh, who are training abroad at different places, responded to the allegations by coming live on social media. Vinesh said, “We are not against the trial.
I can’t blame the last one. He is not wrong. She is fighting for her right and we are fighting for our right. He is too young, he does not understand. But we are not wrong. “He said,” We fought against the system, against the powerful. We took blows on our head, (then) no one came forward.” Vinesh said, “She says she was cheated but did I cheat (during the Commonwealth Games trials)? If it was done, it was done by Brij Bhushan or got it done. My job was to wrestle and I did that.” Vinesh, a two-time World Championship medalist, said, “If she felt cheated, she should have gone to the court at that very moment. The pain reaches But I am glad that the children have started speaking up, they are now gathering courage. It is positive for wrestling.” Bajrang said he wanted to speak on the issue only after the trial and the Delhi High Court’s order on the petition.
“It was said that there are three or four wrestlers who can beat Vinesh but dear finalist, Vinesh has not lost yet and will not lose,” Bajrang said. “Last you said that you became the first Indian to win the U-20 championship but Vinesh is the only woman wrestler to win two medals at the World Championships. You have filed a court case against us?” Vinesh said that he is not afraid of trial. He said, “We have given 20 years to wrestling. She says I haven’t practiced but I was at the protest site. We are still hungry. When we were at the peak of our career, we had put everything at stake.” Vinesh said, “The amount of hard work he put in getting these trials done, if he had put in that much hard work today, Brij Bhushan would not have been out and we all would have been wrestling.” Vinesh said, “We didn’t run away from the trials, we just wanted enough time to train. Take our trials, we have not run away from the country. Some win and some lose but we can’t be given even a month’s time to train?
Vinesh also said that she is not going to leave everything like this. He said, “I have been in this game for 20 years. Twice I have returned from the Olympics without a medal. My mother and I have dreamed of winning the Olympics. Why should I give up everything.” Bajrang said he would not issue repeated clarifications. He said, “The entire wrestling fraternity can sit together. You answer our questions and we will answer your questions. If we are proved wrong, we will quit wrestling.” He also criticized London Olympic medalist Yogeshwar Dutt for favoring outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.