The more things change the more they remain the same when it comes to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Only last month, WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had kicked out 13 grapplers from the national camp at the SAI training facility in Sonepat for skipping training.
Singh then went on to sack chief coach Vinod Kumar and assistant coach Rajneesh for failing to control indiscipline in the camp and installed Kuldeep Singh in his place.
A month later, the wrestlers are back to their recalcitrant ways. Rajiv Tomar, who won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, has been missing the camp for the last few days. Still, he is being marked 'present' by the new coach as per the report he has forwarded to the WFI.
Anuj Chowdhary, silver medallist at the 2010 CWG, has been inducted into the camp though he has not fought competitively since losing the final of the freestyle 85 kg category final to Pakistan's Inam Muhammad during the CWG. As per the WFI rules, Chowdhary shouldn't be making the cut, as only the top-four in the last nationals are eligible for the camp.
But Singh backed Anuj, saying "he deserves his chance". "I know he hasn't fought after 2010, but he is still the best in the category. So, he was included in the camp. Sushil (Kumar) too has fought very few bouts since the London Games, but he is also in the camp. We have to back our medal winners," said Singh, justifying his bizarre logic.
CWG medallists Dharmendra Dalal, Sunil Rana and Joginder Singh, who were part of the group of 13 grapplers who were kicked out by the WFI, have also resumed training in Sonepat.
"They apologised and we took them back," said Singh. "We had to send out a strong message. Those who pledged to work hard were taken back. As WFI chief, my job is to help them look at the bigger picture of winning medals... If I keep throwing wrestlers out, there'll be not many left."