All four Phogat sisters – Geeta, Babita, Sangeeta and Ritu – were axed by the Wrestling Federation of India from the national camp in Lucknow. The four of them, among others, were guilty of skipping the camp and for tantrums and indiscipline, Times of India reported.
They will also not be able to take part in the qualifiers for Asiad, effectively denting their chances of representing India for the Asian Games in August, although that could still change.
Each of the Phogat sisters were asked by the WFI for an explanation.
“It looks all of them are not taking the camp seriously,” WFI chief Brij Bhushan Saran Singh was quoted as saying. “This is gross breach of discipline on their part because the federation is struggling to ensure enough sparring partners at the women’s camp. This is not acceptable. We have immediately removed these offenders from the Lucknow and Sonepat camps. Moreover, they won’t be allowed to appear for the Asian Games trials,” Singh added.
Singh, however, hinted that the wrestlers could be given a lifeline if they can come up with a satisfactory explanation for their actions. “Let them first come to us and explain the reasons behind their actions. For now they are out of the national camp,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Fifteen men and women freestyle grapplers have been handed a show-cause notice by the WFI and their names removed from the camp list. Satyawart Kaidan, the 2014 Commonwealth Games sliver medallist and Sakshi Malik’s husband, was also sent home,
Babita Kumari Phogat on Thursday responded after being thrown out of the national camp, stating that injuries had forced her to skip it.
Babita said she is yet to receive a show-cause notice from the WFI. “I didn’t receive anything from the federation,” she was quoted as saying by PTI. “Yes, I haven’t joined that camp yet as I am recovering from injuries to both my knees. I admit I haven’t informed the federation yet but I will send an application to them today itself.”
Babita said that Ritu and Sangeeta were waiting for their visas to take part in a training camp in Russia and that the federation knew about it. However, the WFI rejected the claim.
Babita also said that Geeta was in Bengaluru training at a private facility and said that she wasn’t sure why her sister hasn’t joined the camp yet. “Geeta is in Bangalore. I thought she has joined the camp. I am also going to Bangalore for my rehab with the JSW facilities,” she said.
Babita hoped the WFI would be lenient enough to let her take part in the Asian Games trials. Earlier, the WFI wasn’t happy about Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat training at Sports Authority of India in Lucknow without informing them beforehand. She was accompanied by her personal physio, trainer and masseur.