Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Pooja Dhanda are against the idea of holding a national camp with the cases of coronavirus continuing to rise in India, reported Mail Today.
The Wrestling Federation of India are in plans to conduct a camp this month for the men’s and women’s team grapplers in Sonepat and Lucknow respectively. If confirmed, it would probably be mandatory for all wrestlers with preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics in mind.
But Phogat said that she has already refused the camp while Dhanda has requested the WFI to understand the situation. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik has reportedly said she would join the camp but suggested that Lucknow was too risky.
In Nursultan last year, Phogat had become India’s first wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and also won her first World Championships medal – a bronze. She also became the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for two Olympics having competed in Rio Games.
“I am not going to attend the camp (next week or whenever this month) and I have already informed the federation about it,” Phogat, India’s star wrestler, was quoted as saying by Mail Today.
“When I am in camp I don’t eat food there because I get stomach infection if I do so. I go out or my food comes from outside mostly. And if I join camp now, I won’t be able to leave the centre, so I decided to give it a skip. Yes, Corona cases are also rising so that, too, is a concern for me,” she added.
Dhanda, who had won bronze at the 2018 Wrestling Worlds, hoped WFI understood their problem.
“I have already said that it should not happen. Coronavirus cases are rising day by day. Look at the record of Lucknow too. We do not have any tournaments recently so what is the point of risking lives. I know there will be pressure of joining the camp if WFI asks us. But I would request that federation, like always, understand our problem,” Dhanda told the newspaper.
Sources in the WFI were quoted as saying that they might reconsider the dates if wrestlers are not on board.
With lockdown being lifted in many parts of India, Sports Authority of India and national federations are looking to start training camps for elite athletes. The shooting federation will also start a training camp in Delhi later this month, which is compulsory for the Olympic core group. The boxing national camp is also to be held with pugilists gathered at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.