Asian Games: Bajrang Punia-Vinesh Phogat, wrestlers on the road against exemption in trials, also warned of protest in Delhi

Last Panghal, a resident of Hisar’s Bhagna village, told reporters that not only him, there are many other wrestlers in 53kg who can beat Vinesh.

Protests have erupted against the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) ad-hoc panel’s decision to exempt Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat from the Asian Games trials. On Tuesday, Vishal Kaliraman and Avinash Panghal, who play in the category of Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, took to the streets with their families. The protesting wrestlers gathered at Chhotu Ram Chowk in Hisar and demanded trials in each weight category.

street wrestlers

These wrestlers included the family members of Vishal Kaliraman, who competed in Bajrang’s weight category, apart from the last Panghal. Besides wrestlers from Hisar’s Baba Laldas Akhara and Delhi’s famous Chhatrasal Stadium, senior citizens from nearby villages also joined the protest. The last Panghal’s father Ramnivas told PTI, “We have gathered here to oppose the decision of the IOA ad-hoc panel. We are protesting today and will decide soon whether to continue our protest.

The last Panghal is the under-20 world champion

Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang (65kg) and World Championship medalist Vinesh (53kg) had led a month-long protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. He had accused Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment. The last Panghal is the Under-20 world champion in the 53kg category.

Wrestlers ready to protest at Indira Gandhi Stadium

She has already released a video questioning the decision to exempt Vinesh from the women’s 53kg category. Last Panghal, a resident of Hisar’s Bhagna village, told reporters that not only him, there are many other wrestlers in 53kg who can beat Vinesh. The 19-year-old said that after supporting Bajrang and Vinesh against Brij Bhushan in January, he now feels cheated. Lily Sisai, one of Panghal’s initial coaches, said that they would stage a sit-in at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Stadium if the exemption was not withdrawn. The trials will be held on July 22 and 23 at the same stadium.

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