Eight Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, have withdrawn from the upcoming Zagreb Open. Wrestlers say they are not ready for the competition. At the same time, Anju has withdrawn from the tournament due to an injury.
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Meanwhile, the observation committee headed by Mary Kom, which manages the WFI affairs, announced the 36-member Indian team for the Zagreb Open on Wednesday. All the big names of Indian wrestlers were supposed to participate in the UWW Ranking Series event starting on February 1 in the capital of Croatia. During their three-day protest at Jantar Mantar, the wrestlers had said that they will not compete in any national or international tournament until the Government dissolve the Wrestling Federation of India and sack its chief.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Ravi Dahiya (57kg), World Championship medalist Deepak Punia (86kg), promising youngster Anshu Malik (57kg), Bajrang’s wife Sangeeta Phogat (62kg), Sarita Mor (59kg) , Jitendra Kinha (79kg), Vinesh (53kg) and Bajrang (65kg) say their preparation is not complete and these wrestlers will not participate in the competition.
This is the first tournament for Indian wrestlers in the 2023 season. After this, the wrestlers also have to participate in the Asian Games and the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers. The wrestlers who sat in the strike lost practice time before the tournament. And they would also have struggled to perform well if they had participated.
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The government assured the wrestlers sitting on the dharna that an inquiry would be conducted against the wrestling association president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Along with this, they asked him to stay away from working for the wrestling association. Only after this, the wrestlers ended their strike. The wrestlers had accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and acting in an arbitrary manner. The investigation has started against him. A five-member committee is probing against him.