Indian wrestlers denied training opportunity in Australia by WFI

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Indian wrestlers denied training opportunity in Australia by WFI

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SportsCafe Desk


Indian wrestlers have been denied a chance by the WFI to fly to Australia for acclimatization and training purposes stating that training in India would serve the same purpose. With athletes from other disciplines going to Gold Coast two weeks early, the wrestlers are infuriated by the decision.

Acclimatizing to the host nation’s climate and the conditions have been an important element in preparing for the Games as it has always given an athlete a clearer idea in formulating their strategy. And given how Indian wrestlers have always excelled at the CWG, winning 90 medals that included 38 gold, the World Federation of India (WFI) is expected to make elaborate preparations ahead of the Gold Coast Games on April 12.  

However, the Indian body has astonishingly decided against it stating that training in India wouldn’t be very different leaving the wrestlers to reach the Athletes’ Village on April 10, which is barely two days prior to the start of the competitions, as per TOI reports. 

When contacted, the federation claimed that they had previously tried arranging such training stints in Japan, Bulgaria, and Kazakhstan, but it was a failure as the respective wrestling federations either turned it down or didn’t bother to revert to the proposal.

“The tickets have been booked for April 9 (arrival in Gold Coast on April 10) and the federation isn’t too eager to send wrestlers earlier than that. A key issue is that no Indian chef will accompany the wrestlers. We approached the CWG organizers to allow our chef to stay in the athletes’ village and provide him accreditation. But the organizers turned down our request. Most of our wrestlers are vegetarian and they always complain about the quality of food in foreign locations,” the official told TOI.

However, this has not gone down well with the wrestlers where were infuriated by the decision. While double Olympics medallist Sushil Kumar has paid from his pocket for a training stint in Georgia, since he is neither the part of the TOP scheme nor entitled for Rs 50,000 monthly allowance, the other athletes had to train in India itself.

This hasn’t been the case with athletes in other disciplines. While a 12-member boxing team has already been training at the Australian Sports Institute in Canberra, the shooters and shuttlers are scheduled to leave a week earlier for practice. This has left the wrestlers fuming.

“If other federations are spending from their pockets and making arrangements for their athletes to go to Australia early, why can’t the WFI extend the same courtesy to its wrestlers? Once the Athletes’ Village is thrown open next week, the Games’ organizing committee (OC) will take care of the participants,” said a wrestler.

“It helps to prepare both physically and mentally if you reach early for the tournament. The wrestlers earlier travelled to places like Georgia or Colorado Springs in the US before a multisport event. This time we will train at home and leave for the Games at the last minute,” another wrestler added.

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