Vinesh accuses WFI chief of trying to end her Olympic dream; fears doping conspiracy

Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh Phogat
| Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat on April 12 accused the Wrestling Federation of India president Sanjay Singh of trying to stop her from competing in the Olympic Qualifiers by creating logistical hurdles for her support staff, saying she is also fearful of being trapped in a doping case.

The 29-year-old Phogat, who won 53kg bronze medals in the 2019 and 2022 World Championships besides a gold in the 2018 Asian Games (in 50kg), would be eyeing an Olympic quota in the 50kg category in the Asian qualifying tournament next week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

At the selection trials in Patiala, she had also competed in the 53kg category after the authorities allowed her but lost in the semifinals.

“Brij Bhushan and his dummy Sanjay Singh are trying in every way to stop me from playing in the Olympics. All the coaches who have been appointed with the team are the favourites of Brij Bhushan and his team, so it cannot be denied that they may mix something in my water and make me drink it during my match?” Phogat said in lengthy post on his ‘X’ page.

“If I say that there could be a conspiracy to trap me in doping, then it will not be wrong.”

Ms. Phogat alleged that her personal coach and physio were being denied accreditation for the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament starting April 19.

“For the past one month, I have been requesting the Government of India (SAI, TOPS) for the accreditation of my coach and physio. Without accreditation, it is not possible for my coach and physio to accompany me to the competition arena,” she said.

“But despite repeated requests, I am not getting any concrete answer from anywhere. No one is ready to help. Will the future of players always be played with like this?

“No stone is being left unturned to mentally harass us. How far is it justified to torture us like this before such an important competition?” she asked.

Ms. Phogat was one of the three top wrestlers of the country who led a protracted protest against former WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexually harassing women wrestlers.

After a case was filed against Brij Bhushan by Delhi Police, a local court granted him bail in July.

She wondered if the difficulties she is facing now are due to the protest she led alongside Olympic bronze medal winners Bjarnag Punia and Sakshi Malik.

“Will we face politics even before we go to play for the country because we raised our voice against sexual harassment? Is this the punishment for raising voice against wrong in our country? “I hope we will get justice before we go to play for the country.”

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