CHENNAI: Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat was on Tuesday 'temporarily suspended' for indiscipline by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and given time till August 16 to submit her reply.
Vinesh was one of the country's main medal prospects at the Tokyo Games but crashed out after losing her quarterfinal bout by a fall against Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya. The loss, especially the manner in which the top seed in her weight category competed, suggested there is definitely a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Somvir Rathi, Vinesh's husband, confirmed she was, in fact, struggling physically that eventually put paid to her hopes of securing an Olympic medal.
"She (Vinesh) has been facing this issue for quite some time now as she finds it difficult to recover after weight loss. She suffers from dizziness on the mat due to the low salt and water level in her body. She managed to control it by switching to 53kg from 50kg in 2019, but it started again this year," Somvir told this daily.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist also admitted the problem she is suffering from during a media interaction organised by the Sports Authority of India before the Olympics.
"I first felt it in 2019 and started feeling it again this year. My blood pressure gets low suddenly and everything gets blurry. If that happens during (the) bout then I cannot give my best. I felt that most during the Asian Championships. I need to monitor it," Vinesh had told mediapersons during the interaction in April. Somvir, a Greco-Roman wrestler himself, said the problem used to subside as the tournament progressed but it continued to trouble Vinesh in Olympics.
"Usually, she used to feel better as the event progresses, but this time it was different. She went numb and didn't have the energy to counter her opponent's move. Double-leg attack is her strength but she simply couldn't do it. The problem seems to have got aggravated after she returned Covid-19 positive last year."
The husband confirmed that they are trying to get an appointment from a reputed hospital in New Delhi.
"We are trying to meet doctors as they can only confirm what is actually ailing her. Once they diagnose the problem, we will follow their instructions to ensure she gets back to full fitness for future events," informed Somvir. He also expects the WFI to adopt a lenient approach and revoke the suspension.
"WFI president (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) looks after every wrestler individually. The WFI has done a lot for Vinesh to ensure she lives her dream. I know the president will understand the situation and give Vinesh a chance to win laurels for the country once again. Winning an Olympic medal is her dream and I know she will realise it."
They will also try to meet the WFI chief and try to explain to him the reasons if the situation permits, added Somvir. Omprakash Dahiya, Vinesh's coach, also requested the WFI to forgive the wrestler and stand in solidarity with her in these difficult times. Meanwhile, the federation has also issued a notice to young grappler Sonam Malik, who represented the country in 62kg in Tokyo.