I don’t want that the right of any player is taken away: Sakshi Malik
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, one of the prominent faces of the wrestlers’ protest opposed the exemption given to Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat for the Asian Games and called it a move to spark infighting among wrestlers. The 30-year-old voiced her displeasure in two video clips tweeted by news agency ANI before tweeting another 53-second clip an hour later.
“We had demanded time from the ad hoc committee so that our trials are conducted after August 10 because we were unable to train. Accordingly, they sent a letter giving us time. This is the reason we came out for the training. However, I got a call from the govt saying that they are forwarding the name of both of them (Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat) directly for the Asian Games and asked me to send an email so that my name could also be forwarded. I refused as I did not want a direct entry. I haven’t been to any tournament without the trials neither will I ever do so in the future,” Malik said on Thursday.
“I am against this move of sending names directly because I don’t want that the right of any player is taken away. This is to cause a fight between the wrestlers. That’s why the names of two people have been sent directly. I am totally against it,” she added. Malik is currently on a self-funded training trip in Michigan with wrestler-husband Satyawart Kadian.
IOA’s ad hoc committee has announced trials for all 18 weight classes for the Hangzhou Asian Games. Trials for Greco Roman and women will be held on Saturday while men’s freestyle bouts will be conducted on Sunday. Winners of Phogat (53 kg) and Punia’s (65 kg) divisions will travel as standbys, the committee had declared. The move has led to wrestlers Antim Panghal (53 kg) and Sujeet Kalkal (65 kg) approaching the Delhi High Court.
World Championships silver medallist Anshu Maik also threw her weight behind the young wrestlers, calling trials their “right.” The 21-year-old, who competes in the 57kg division, tweeted, “An athlete dreams about winning medals at events such as Asian Games and Olympics and bringing glory to the country. But what can one do if athletes’ rights are taken away?”
“The demand for trials by junior wrestlers is absolutely correct. It is their right and I completely support them,” Anshu wrote, tagging the sports minister Anurag Thakur and IOA president PT Usha.
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