Wrestling bosses ‘temporarily’ suspend Vinesh Phogat for indiscipline

Vinesh Phogat, Rome Ranking series, wrestling, Indian wrestling, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, World Wrestling Championships
Vinesh Phogat had travelled to Tokyo from Hungary, where she trained with her coach, Woller Akos | Photo: @Phogat_Vinesh/Twitter

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday “temporarily” suspended Vinesh Phogat for indiscipline during the Tokyo Olympics, according to a report.

The country’s top wrestling body also issued notice to young Sonam Malik for misconduct, the report said.

Vinesh, who crashed out of the Games in the quarterfinals after a crushing defeat by ‘fall’, has until August 16 to reply to the notice, which mentions indiscipline on three counts.

Vinesh, who had travelled to Tokyo from Hungary, where she had trained with coach Woller Akos, allegedly refused to stay at the Games Village and train with other Indian team members. She also did not wear the name of the official sponsors of the Indian contingent, Shiv Naresh, and chose to wear a Nike singlet during her bouts.

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“This is gross indiscipline. She has been suspended temporarily and barred from all wrestling activities. She can’t compete in any national or other domestic event until she files a reply and WFI takes a final decision,” a WFI source told PTI.

“The WFI was pulled up by the IOA [Indian Olympic Association]… The IOA is issuing a notice to the WFI in this regard,” the source added.

Also read: Stars from hinterland fuelling India’s Olympic glory

Indian officials in Tokyo said Vinesh had created a ruckus when she was allotted a room near those of her Indian team-mates – Sonam, Anshu Malik and Seema Bisla – arguing that she might contract coronavirus since these wrestlers had travelled to Tokyo from India.

“She did not train with any of the Indian wrestlers. It appeared as if she had come with the Hungary team and had nothing to do with the Indian contingent.

“One day her timing clashed with the training timings of the Indian girls and she chose not to train at the same arena with them,” the official said.

“This is not acceptable. This is not how senior wrestlers are supposed to behave.”

Vinesh had entered the Games as a top medal contender but ended up suffering defeat by fall against Belarus’s Vanesa Kaladzinskaya.

The 19-year old Sonam has also been given a notice for misconduct.

“These kids think they have become star wrestlers and are entitled to do anything. Before leaving for Tokyo either Sonam or her family are supposed to collect their passport from the WFI office,” the official said.

“But she ordered SAI [Sports Authority of India] officials to collect [her passport] on her behalf. This is not acceptable. They have achieved nothing and are showing attitude. This will not be accepted,” the official added.

Sonam also returned without a medal from her debut Olympics.

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