‘On what basis is Vinesh being sent to Asiad?’: Antim Panghal's explosive rant - Hindustan Times
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'On what basis is Vinesh Phogat being sent to Asian Games?': Antim Panghal erupts, drops 'CWG cheating' bombshell

Jul 19, 2023 12:03 PM IST

The 19-year-old Panghal, who hails from Hisar in Haryana and competes in 53kg, asked why Vinesh has been selected when she has not been practicing for long.

Antim Panghal, the reigning U-20 world champion, lashed out at the decision to exempt Vinesh Phogat from the Asian Games trials, insisting that the star Indian wrestler is beatable and hasn't practiced in the past year. On Tuesday, Vinesh and Bajrang Punia were handed direct entries for the Asian Games by the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) ad-hoc committee. The other wrestlers, meanwhile, will have to appear in trials to secure a berth at the Asiad which take place on July 22 and 23.

Antim Panghal has criticsed the decision to send Vinesh Phogat to Asian Games without a trial(File)
Antim Panghal has criticsed the decision to send Vinesh Phogat to Asian Games without a trial(File)

Antim, however, is in the same weight category as Vinesh (53kg). In a video that has since been quoted by PTI, Panghal asked for reasons behind Vinesh being exempted from trials.

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"Vinesh Phogat has received direct entry for the Asian Games, when she had not done any practice in the last one year. She doesn't have any achievement in the last one year," Panghal said in the video.

"Last year, in the Junior World Championships, I had won a gold medal and became the first woman wrestler from India to achieve this feat. In the 2023 Asian Championships I won a silver medal, but Vinesh has no achievement to show in the last one year. She was also injured," she said.

"Sakshi Malik has also won an Olympic medal, she too is not being sent. What is so special about Vinesh that she is being sent. Just organise trials. I am not saying that I am the only one who can beat Vinesh. There are several other girls who can beat her," said Panghal.

Vinesh got direct entry for the Asian Games by virtue of being a medal winner at the World Championship last year. She is currently training in Budapest, Hungary. Panghal alleged that during the CWG trials, she was “cheated” but remained firm in her resolve to quality for the Asian Games.

"When the CWG trials were taking place, I had bouts against her, then too they (officials) cheated me. I said koi nahin (it's okay), I will try to qualify for the Olympics by going to the (Hangzhou) Asian Games. But now they are saying they will send Vinesh. This is not done.

"They are also saying that the one who goes for the Asian Games will also go for the World Championships. And, the one who wins a medal at Worlds will go to the Olympics (in Paris). We have also been training hard for years. So, what about us?" questioned Panghal.

She asked whether it was time for wrestlers like her to quit the sport in frustration.

“Should we leave wrestling. Tell us on what basis is she (Vinesh) being sent.”

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