KOCHI : The Indian wrestling team for the upcoming Asian Championship will be facing tough odds due to a depleted field.
Just a day after it was reported that Sakshi Malik will be skipping the selection trials for the event to be held in Delhi from May 10 to 14, two other known faces in Indian wrestling — Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat — have decided to do the same. The Phogat sisters failed to attend the weighing procedure at the Lucknow SAI centre on Thursday amid reports that the duo is struggling from injuries.
Confirming the news, Rahul Phogat, a member of the Phogat family said that they have been suffering from injuries and are yet to recover. “Babita had a surgery for her shoulder, while Geeta is also having fitness issues,” he told Express.
Kuldeep Malik, national women’s wrestling coach, said the two were expected to miss the event as they weren’t contacting the team officials for some time. “I was doubting whether they had contacted the WFI directly because I was not contacted by them regarding the national camp or selection trials. Today they were absent and then only I could confirm it. I don’t think they will be ready for the Asian Championship,” he said.
However, sources in the WFI said they are yet to hear anything from the Phogat sisters. “We were not told that they were injured. The duo has been training at their ancestral akhada in Bhiwani and we had not much news about them.”
The registration process for the tournament will be open till mid-April, but WFI officials ruled out any second trial. Meanwhile, the men’s selection trials got over at Sonepat on Thursday.
The major upset came in 74 kg freestyle where Jitender registered a surprise win over Parveen Rana. Bajrang in the 65 kg escaped narrowly as he overcame Vikas by technical superiority (20-10). Last edition’s gold medallist in 57 kg, Sandeep Tomar, also won as he had it easy over Amit Kumar.