Babita's Rio dream alive? Phogat sisters among Indian wrestlers let off by WFI disciplinary committee
The disciplinary committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has recommended pardon for all the wrestlers including Babita Phogat, who forfeited their bouts during the recent Olympic qualifying events, citing that they are all first-time offenders.
New Delhi: The disciplinary committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has recommended pardon for all the wrestlers, who forfeited their bouts during the recent Olympic qualifying events, citing that they are all first-time offenders.
The disciplinary committee was expected to lift temporary suspension on the Phogat sisters -- Babita Kumari, who has qualified for the Rio Games after Mongolia's Sumiya Erdenechimeg failed a dope test in women's 53kg at the Asian Olympic qualifier and Geeta (women's 58kg) -- as both of them immediately apologised for forfeiting bouts in their respective weight divisions during last month's Olympic qualifying event.
WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had himself urged the disciplinary committee to forgive Babita after she acquired an Olympic berth following an upgradation, and allow her to take part in the Rio Games, to be held in August.
But Sumit (men's 125kg freestyle) and Rahul Aware (men's 57kg freestyle) were supposed to be handed stern punishments after showing indiscipline. However, even they have been let off with a warning by the disciplinary committee.
"Since they were all first time offenders and they have also apologised for their action, the disciplinary committee has decided to let them off with a warning," a WFI official told PTI.
"Babita and Geeta had apologised for forfeiting their respective bouts. They explained that in order to conserve energy for the last qualifying event, they decided not to fight in what was an inconsequential bout," he added.
The recommendations of the disciplinary committee are yet to be signed by the WFI president.
The disciplinary committee, which included senior vice-president ID Nanavati, chief coach Jagminder Singh and other executive members, met on Tuesday. All the four offenders were present with their replies to the show-cause notices that were issued earlier.
During the first qualifying tournament in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Babita had forfeited her repechage bout while Geeta had pulled out citing an injury.
Sumit, who had a chance to book an Olympic berth had he won his repechage round followed by two more bouts, also did not turn up for his bout, thereby forfeiting it.
None of these grapplers bothered to follow the proper procedure of officially withdrawing from the competition, which had prompted the world body to debar them from taking part in the last Olympic qualifying event in Istanbul, Turkey, which took place earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Rahul Aware, who was shortlisted by the WFI to train in Tbilisi, Georgia, along with his Men's Freestyle and Greco-Roman colleagues, refused to board the flight to Georgia, claiming that his visa had not been done for the two Olympic qualification events in Mongolia and Turkey.
No amount of convincing by the WFI could persuade him and Aware returned home from the airport, wasting his ticket.
Another wrestler, Gurpreet Singh, who weighed 500gm more than what was stipulated to be eligible for the Greco-Roman 75kg category competition at the 2nd World Qualifying tournament at Istanbul, was issued a show-cause notice at the end of the tournament. Thus, he has been given some more time to reply.
"His case will be taken up later, as he is given some time to reply to the show cause notice," chief coach Jagminder said.
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