An official of the Asian Games has welcomed the protesting wrestlers in Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Poghat, and Sakshi Malik from India to participate in the trials ahead of this year's event. The trio have been at the forefront of the agitation against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh over charges of sexual harassment of at least seven wrestlers.
On behalf of WFI, the Ad-Hoc committee sent the names of Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Punia and two-time World Championships bronze medallist Phogat to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) ahead of the trials likely to take place from March 22-25 at Indira Gandhi (IG) Stadium in Delhi. Malik's name went later for the trials.
According to the person aware of the developments, they don't want to give the trio any impression of bias or deprive them of a fair chance to compete in the Asian Games this year.
"We don't want to give an impression of any bias. Let them compete and earn their place in the national team. The new criterion are still being worked on, but we will invite medallists from Tokyo Olympics, Commonwealth Games, national championships, and other international competitions to the trials. We don't usually consider tournaments as far back as Tokyo Games that happened two years back or CWG where the competition is not great. All those changes are being done solely to let Bajrang, Vinesh and Sakshi to compete. We don't want them to say they were not given a fair chance," an official said, as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Chargesheet against Brij Bhushan Singh to be filed by June 15th:
Meanwhile, it has come to light that Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has assured the protesting wrestlers of filing a charge sheet with the Delhi Police against the WFI Chief by June 15th. Also, the WFI elections would be conducted by June 30th.
Following a six-hour-long meeting with Thakur, the wrestlers decided to suspend their protest against Brij Bhushan Singh. After the meeting, Punia told the Indian Express:
"Government has assured us that the police investigation will be completed before June 15. We have also requested that all FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back and he (Thakur) has agreed to it. If no action is taken by June 15, we will continue our protest."