Indian wrestling icon Vinesh Phogat, the Asian Games and Commowealth Games gold medallist who secured a berth at the Tokyo Olympics, has decided to pull out of the national wrestling camp on risk of getting ill amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On receiving green light from the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has announced to resume the national wrestling camp for athletes who have qualified for the Olympics from 1st September. The women’s camp to be held at Lucknow, UP.
Being the only female wrestler from the country yet to have qualified for the Olympics, Vinesh Phogat is supposed to report to the camp two weeks from now. Unfortunately, concerns about her own health, plus the COVID woes in the country has made the wrestler withdraw from the camp.
Vinesh Phogat will not join national camp amid COVID worries
“I am not going to attend the camp. I am training everyday with coach Om Parkash, who follows the plan which my personal coach Woller Akos sends me every week. The situation is not good to travel to Lucknow,” Vinesh Phogat said in a recent interview with PTI.
From being sensitive to sickness, to the rise of COVID cases in Lucknow, travelling to another state is something that the Haryanvi grappler is eager to avoid.
“My stomach is pretty sensitive. You can’t go out of the SAI centre in Lucknow, so you can’t get yourself a few things which you need. In Lucknow, cases are rising but it’s safe in Haryana, so I am more comfortable here,” the 25 year old added.
Like all other national camps under SAI, the wrestling camp is also to abide by the SOPs and the safety regulations proposed by the State Govt, which includes remaining within the premises throughout the duration of the camp.
On the other hand, WFI has cited that its upto the selection committe to decide any Olympics qualified athlete’s abandonment from a camp.
“The selection committee will decide if Vinesh will get exemption or not. The camp is for players. We want preparation to kick off now for Olympics,” Vinod Tomar, an assistant secretary at the WFI said.
“We are not running a shop for our benefit, the camp is for players and when they express such apprehensions, it’s a bit surprising,” Tomar added.
Vinesh Phogat secured her Olympic quota at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in September last year, where she secured a Bronze at the Women’s freestyle 53 kg event.