Non-protesting wrestlers want camps to restart, worry about performance at Asiad

Non-protesting wrestlers want camps to restart, worry about performance at Asiad

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With the protest against the WFI chief continuing, it is the wrestlers all over the country who are suffering. With no national camps all this while, several non-protesting wrestlers demanded that SAI must reopen the centres for them, as lack of training could impact their chances at Asian Games.

The men's training centre is in SAI Sonepat, while the women's camp is organised in Lucknow. It was on April 8, that country's top wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat went on a protest at Jantar Mantar again, demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh from the post of WFI chief, on grounds of sexual harassment. On the same day, national camps were also shut.

As per a report in PTI, more than 300 wrestlers train at SAI Sonepat, across categories and age groups, while as many as 100 women wrestlers train in Lucknow. "I don't have proper sparring partners with me to train. We need to be in a national camp. The Asian Games trials are just two months away. The SAI should restart the camp. Why should the junior wrestlers suffer," Narsingh Pancham Yadav told PTI from Mumbai.

"There are about 25 wrestlers where I train and most of them are junior. So obviously I don't have proper training partners. They are inexperienced. Not much time is left for Asian Games and after that, the World Championship is also scheduled. The national camp must restart," said the national championship silver medallist.

On being asked about the protests, he said, "I don't know the truth. If something like that (sexual harassment) has happened, then it's wrong." Another wrestler, Sandeep Deshwal, who competes in greco roman style in 82kg category, said it has been a struggle for him.

"I am in Rohtak since the camp closed. It's really difficult. Jor nahi ho pa raha (The mat training has become a big issue). I have spoken to the coaches also several times but no one knows why the national camp is not restarting."

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