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'Chor darwaja': Wrestling Federation of India talks tough to NGOs as wrestlers call out for help

·4-min read

The Wrestling Federation of India lambasted non-profit sports NGOs like Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) and JSW on Thursday for 'spoiling the wrestlers.'

"The WFI and the Indian government is capable of supporting all its athletes. JSW and OGQ don't need to come from 'chor darwaja' (back door) and spoil our wrestlers. I urge them that they leave our wrestlers and Indian wrestling alone,” WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh Wrestling Federation of India President
File Photo: President of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in New Delhi on July 26, 2016. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

"We are not happy with the way they are interfering. If they want to help the wrestlers, they are welcome but let them work at the grassroots level. It's the Cadets who need support. They pick only established wrestlers and leave them when the results are not there. The government is spending crores of rupees on their coaching and travel and these people give a physio and start making tall claims," he said.

"If they want to come and support, let them come from the front door like the Tata is doing," he said.

It has been learnt that WFI was not happy that spouses of the wrestlers travelled abroad to be with their partners when they (wrestlers) were training ahead of the Olympics with the NGOs facilitating the travel.

The WFI was also unhappy that Vinesh Phogat travelled to Hungary where good sparring partners were not available.

Vinesh Phogat
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Vinesh Phogat of India in action against Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Vinesh Phogat Olympics
India's Vinesh Phogat (red) wrestles Belarus' Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in their women's freestyle 53kg wrestling quarterfinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The Federation 'temporarily suspended' the star grappler for indiscipline during her forgettable Tokyo Olympics campaign and also issued notice to young Sonam Malik for misconduct.

The 26-year-old from a famed Indian wrestling dynasty went into the Games as world number one in the 53kg but crashed out in the quarter-finals.

Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told AFP that Phogat had been suspended on 'three counts of indiscipline'. Phogat refused to share an athletes' village room with India's other women wrestlers, would not wear the team's official shirt in competition and would not train with the rest of the team, Tomar said.

The 'broken' wrestler is not sure when, if at all, she would return to the wrestling mat as she struggles to cope with the disappointment of her Tokyo Olympics campaign.

"I don't know when I will return (to the mat). Maybe I won't. I feel I was better off with that broken leg. I had something to correct. Now my body is not broken, but I'm truly broken,” she wrote in Friday's Indian Express newspaper.

The two-time Commonwealth Games champion also battled mental health issues and spoke to a psychologist but felt enough attention was not paid to the issue in India.

"We celebrate Simone Biles as she said that I am not mentally prepared to perform at the Olympics and did not do her event," she said, referring to the American gymnast who skipped most of her Olympic events in Tokyo to focus on her mental health.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics medal winners
Tokyo 2020 Olympics medal winners Wrestler Bajrang Punia, Boxer Lovlina Borgohain, Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra, Wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Hockey team captain Manpreet Singh pose for a group photograph during a felicitation ceremony upon their arrival in India. (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

‘We will sit with him and listen to his view about his game’

The WFI also said it will consider feedback from Tokyo Games medallists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya before deciding their coaching staff in the new Olympic cycle but will not accept any interference from NGOs like JSW and OGQ in the name of support to athletes.

Bajrang was trained by Georgia's Shako Bentinidis while Ravi had Russia's Kamal Malikov as his personal coach. Deepak Punia also had a Russian coach in Murad Gaidarov, whose services were terminated by the WFI when he assaulted a referee during the Tokyo Games.

All the coaches had their contracts till the Tokyo Olympics and the fresh ones will be finalised in a few days after WFI sits with the wrestlers, who are now busy with felicitations.

“Bajrang has a medal working with Shako Bentinidis. We will sit with him and listen to his view about his game. If he wants to continue (with Shako), we will consider that,” the WFI President told PTI.

It is understood that both Bajrang and Shako want to continue their partnership. The Georgian is already at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bahalgarh (Sonepat).

The federation is also happy with the way Malikov has managed Ravi so far and would not mind continuing with the arrangement.


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