Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) have put star players like Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik, and the Phogat sisters, Geeta and Babita, in Grade B due to their lack of form. On the other hand, the federation have offered Grade A contracts to Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Pooja Dhanda.
After Sports Authority of India's decision to drop the names of Sushil and the two Phogat sisters from the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme and putting Sakshi on notice until the 2019 Asian Championships, WFI took the decision of making a clear-cut statement of "performance comes before reputation". As per a ToI report, Sushil and Sakshi have been accommodated in Grade B of Rs 20 lakh.
Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil crashed out in his first qualification bout at this year's Jakarta Asian Games in the 74kg category and his swift decline resulted in SAI and WFI excluding them from the top brackets. However, Sushil is yet to be informed about his contract and WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh will talk to them separately on the sidelines of the Senior Nationals in Gonda (UP) from November 29 to December 2.
“Their performance chart has shown a rapid decline. Sushil is nowhere close to his former self, while Sakshi hasn't been able to replicate her Rio Olympics form. Only Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Pooja Dhanda have been offered Grade A contract. Similarly, upcoming wrestlers like Ritu Phogat and Ravi Kumar, among others, have been put in Grade B, while Grade C, D and E form the other group of wrestlers," a WFI official told ToI.
It has also been learnt that the categorisation of grades has been done in five segments for seniors, which include slabs of Rs 30 lakh, Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh keeping a wrestler's recent form and his/her future medal chances.
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