This comes out after a few days of their Dharna at Jantar Mantar.

Eight top gun wrestlers of the nation have decided to pull out from the upcoming Zagreb Open. Top guns like Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat have stated that they are not feeling 100 percent ready for the upcoming competition. Meanwhile, Anuj withdrew due to an injury.

The oversight committee is headed by Mary Kom, which is currently handling all affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India. Also, on Wednesday WFI named a 36-member squad for the UWW Ranking Series (Zagreb Open) in Zagreb, Croatia from 1st February.

The wrestlers were on protest at Jantar Mantar a few days back. The protest lasted for 3 days and said that they would not compete in any national or international competition until the chief of WFI is sacked and it is disbanded. Also, this announcement from the players to not participate came on the day of the announcement of the squad.

Also, Wrestlers who have opted out stating they will not be able to compete are Tokyo Olympics Silver Medal winner Ravi Dahiya (57kg), World Champion medallist Deepak Punia (86kg), upcoming young talent Anshu Malik (57kg), Gita Phogat (62kg) wife of Bajraj Singh, Sarita Mor (59kg) and Jitendra Kinha (79kg) along with Vinesh Phogat (53kg) and Bajrang Punia (65kg).

An SAI source told PTI, “The reason they have given is that they are not feeling 100 percent well to participate. They are stretching it a bit now. They should have competed after being named to the Indian team. This is not going to be appreciated.”

Zagreb Open is the first wrestling event for Indian wrestlers in 2023. Moreover, the Asian games and the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics are also scheduled to be held this year.

Reasons for protest

The wrestlers earlier this month held a sit-in protest, due to which they lost important practice time. This could have affected their performance in the tournament. Also, the protest of the wrestlers came to an end after the government asked the chief of WFI Brij Bhushan to step down. The reason behind the wrestler’s protest was the accused WFI chief of sexual misconduct and intimidation.

An oversight committee was formed by the Government. It was tasked to look after the affairs of the WFI by the government until the probe was completed. However, the wrestlers were not pleased as the committee was formed without consulting them. The committee has former wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutta and Trupti Murgunde along with two SAI officials. The probe committee will have to submit its report within a month.

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Meanwhile, WFI chief Brij Bhushan’s source has stated that he is keenly waiting for the proof to be completed so that his name could be cleared of any wrongdoings. Also, a source to Brij Bhushan said, “He is happy that a probe is being conducted. He believes that his name will be cleared and wrestlers’ misconceptions will also burst. Neither he has sexually harassed any woman wrestler nor there are any financial irregularities in WFI, so he is confident.”

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