CHENNAI: Trying to avoid a badminton-like situation when a national camp was cancelled because top players were reluctant to attend, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) might also decide to not go ahead with the women’s training at Lucknow Sports Authority of India centre. A final decision in this regard could be taken on Monday after consulting stakeholders, including the wrestlers and support staff.
The national camp and trials for India shuttlers at Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad was cancelled because top players did not want to stay at a designated centre, as per SAI quarantine protocols. “A few wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat were apprehensive when the camp was originally announced. How can we go ahead if the participants are unwilling to join,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, WFI president, said. “I will have a discussion with wrestlers on Monday when I visit New Delhi.
A final call will be taken after the meeting,” added the WFI chief. The camp for 15 women wrestlers was scheduled to begin on September 1 at SAI’s Lucknow centre. However, the plan was shelved after wrestlers expressed apprehensions and also a few cases involving staff. The SAI while postponing the camp on August 22 also said new dates will be intimated soon. Speaking on the postponement, the WFI had said that it will reassess the situation after two weeks.
“We are yet to hear from the WFI in this regard. The camp looks unlikely this month. It may resume next month,” a coach, who will be part of the camp, said. Vinesh, the lone Indian woman wrestler to make Tokyo Olympics cut so far, listed reasons that made her decide against joining the camp. One among them was the Haj House, which is located adjacent to the SAI centre and has been turned into Covid care facility by the Uttar Pradesh government.
The 53kg wrestler, however, returned positive ahead of the National Sports Awards ceremony and went into self-quarantine skipping the function wherein she was to be conferred with Khel Ratna. She tested negative twice since then and has resumed training at her home in Kharkhoda, Haryana. “Honestly, I do not want to join the camp but if the federation decides to resume, I will be left with no option than joining it,” said one of the wrestlers.