IMAGE: Vinesh Phogat makes public wrestlers’ letter to the sports ministry, amid controversy over Asiad, World Championship trials. Photographs: Kind courtesy Vinesh Phogat/Twitter
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Sunday made public a letter that some of the protesting wrestlers had written to the Sports Ministry, requesting the extension of the dates for trials for the Asian Games as well as the World Championships later this year.
Vinesh shared a picture of the letter — which mentions no date — on social media on Sunday which mentions six wrestlers requesting for some extra time for training ahead of the trials.
These wrestlers have been protesting against the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment since the start of the year.
The ad-hoc panel of the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) had earlier exempted the protesting wrestlers from taking part in the trials, which was heavily criticised by coaches and parents of the other wrestlers including Yogeshwar Dutt.
The ad-hoc panel had also requested the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to extend the date of submission for entries by one month, from its last date of July 15.
The undated letter, addressed to sports minister Anurag Thakur, reads, “It is requested to you that due to their participation in the wrestlers’ protest, the below mentioned wrestlers need some additional time to prepare for the trials for the Asian Games and the World Championships.”
The request to be awarded time to train for the trials was made for protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia (65kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), her husband Satyawart Kadian (97kg), Sangeeta Phogat (57kg), Jitender Kumar (86kg) and Vinesh (53kg) herself.
“Hence it is a request to you that trials must be held for these wrestlers after August 10, 2023,” the letter, signed by all six wrestlers mentioned, added.
Along with sharing the letter, Vinesh wrote on her Twitter page, “The protesting wrestlers had only requested to postpone the date of the trials. Since we participated in the protests for the last six months, we did not get enough time for practice.
“We understand that this is a serious matter, which is why we are sharing this letter with you. The enemy is trying to break the unity among the wrestlers, we cannot let them have success,” Vinesh added.