A day after Sakshi Malik was included in the Indian women’s team without a trial, Ritu Phogat and Geeta Phogat were also given direct entries to the women’s wrestling team for the upcoming Senior World Championships on Tuesday.
Ritu was supposed to wrestle Pinki for the spot in the team but the latter refused to give the trial which was scheduled to held at the SAI centre in Lucknow.
Pinki was India’s initial entry for the 53kg category for the October World Championships but it was later decided that she has to compete in a trial as her performance in the Asian Games was not up to the mark.
“Pinki was selected but our selection committee decided that her performance in Asiad wasn’t up to the mark as she lost to a wrestler with less credentials. So we wanted to conduct a trial,” WFI secretary Vinod Tomar told Scroll.
Ritu had missed the earlier trials due to a delayed flight and was now asked to give a trial in the 53kg category which she accepted. But with Pinki refusing, she will be on the plane to Budapest where the Championships will be held from October 20 to 28.
“We gave them an option of a trial and Ritu is a strong wrestler. Pinki is a good wrestler and she was India’s representative at the Asian Games as well. A trial would have given us the idea who is better. But Pinki refused to give a trial and Ritu was selected,” India’s chief coach of the women’s team Kuldeep Malik said.
Geeta, who was not part of the trials, was selected for 59kg as the originally selected wrestler Sangeeta Phogat, Geeta’s sister, is injured.
“Geeta showed interest in representing the team and she is a accomplished wrestler so we decided to give her a chance,” Tomar said.
Initially, the Wrestling Federation of India had said that the wrestlers who were selected for the Asian Games will represent India at the World Championships and only four wrestlers – Bajrang Punia, Vinesh, Sakshi and Sushil Kumar – made it to the Asian Games team without a trial.
All four were supposed to under go a trial but with Punia and Vinesh picking up gold medals a the Asiad, they were exempted of a trial and later, Sushil pulled out of the Worlds team. Sakshi had to compete with Sarita Mor for a spot at 62kg but the latter also pulled out of the trial.
Pinki had won the trial to represent India at the Asian Games and World Championships. Unhappy with the WFI decision to conduct a re-trial, Pinki refused.
Malik said that India need a strong team for the World Championships and Pinki should have wrestled in the trial.
“We need a strong team and for that we need the best wrestler. Ritu is originally a 50kg wrestler but as Vinesh is superior to everyone else in that category, we decided to give Ritu a chance in the 53kg which she agreed to. Pinki should have wrestled in the trial and proved that she is the best in her category,” Malik said.
Another wrestler included in the team is Asian champion Navjot Kaur. She was selected after Asian Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran pulled out because of injury.
India will be represented by Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Ritu Phogat (53kg), Seema (55kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Geeta Phogat (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Ritu Malik (65kg), Navjot Kaur (68kg), Rajni (72kg), Kiran (75kg).