Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik was expelled from the national camp by the Wrestling Federation India (WFI) for leaving the training centre in Lucknow without permission but was later allowed to rejoin after she replied to the show cause issued to her.
In a shocking turn of events, 25 out of the 45 women grapplers, who train at the SAI centre in Lucknow, reported absent from the national camp without taking permission from the National Federation.
Out of these 25, three grapplers including Sakshi (62kg), Seema Bisla (50kg) and Kiran (76kg) had recently qualified for the World Championship.
The trio was issued show cause notice and their deadline for submitting reply was Wednesday.
All the 25 wrestlers were expelled and were barred from competing in Monday’s World Championship trials in four non-Olympic categories.
According to WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar, once the Indian squads left for Belarus and Estonia for tournaments, the remaining wrestlers left the camp without seeking permission.
“I am back in Lucknow and have been at camp since yesterday. After returning from the International competition in Belarus, I went home for a couple of days given that trials had been completed and a number of other girls had also gone home.
“I responded immediately to the notice issued by the WFI, which they accepted in full and I returned to camp,” Sakshi told PTI.
WFI officials said Sakshi, in her reply, wrote that she had gone home for Raksha Bandhan festival.
“We had asked Sakshi, Seema and Kiran to reply to the show cause notices. Others, we have not even bothered to ask. They have simply been expelled for indiscipline. We will see later if we need to call them back for the camp,” Tomar told PTI.
“The camp is still on with remaining wrestlers, including the juniors. Now that they have been expelled, they are coming up with all kinds of excuses. Somebody is saying that my mother was ill and some one is saying that she had informed so and so. This is unacceptable,” added Tomar.
Tomar on Monday told IANS that all three wrestlers told the Federation that they had gone home for the festival of Raksha Bandhan. "Sakshi said that she had gone home for the festival and admitted that she made a mistake by not taking due permission for it. Seema and Kiran also gave the same reasons. They have replied to the show cause notices and apologised. So now they are back in the camp," he said.
WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said they want only serious wrestlers at the camp.
“We have told them that only those who are serious about training will return to the camp. If they have problems at home, they can sit at home. We will replace them. We can’t afford the camp to suffer because of a few wrestlers. We can have more juniors,” Singh told PTI.
Asked about allegations that the WFI has tried to manipulate trials by sending entries for the World Championship to United World Wrestling (UWW) without holding trials, Tomar defended the decision.
The last date to send entries was August 15 while WFI conducted trials for women in non-Olympic categories on August 19 in Lucknow and men’s trials are scheduled for tomorrow in New Delhi.
“We had to send a team to Belarus for the tournament and to Estonia for the World Championships. A few junior wrestlers also wanted to compete in trials, so we delayed the trials so that they can compete when they comeback.
“Viky, who won a bronze in 92kg at the Worlds, he also has to compete. We delayed it so that we could have quality trials. I agree that the women’s trials were very weak due to disciplinary action. We can always replace names already sent to UWW. We can give medical certificates for replacements,” said Tomar.
The men’s freestyle trials in four non-olympic categories and the 74kg in which two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar competes, will be held tomorrow.
Names of wrestlers expelled from National camp:
50kg: Indu Chaudhary, Preeti, Sheetal Tomar
53kg: Seema, Keemti, Raman Yadav
57kg: Pinki Rani
59kg: Manju, Ankita, Rani Rana
62kg: Sakshi Malik, Rachna, Pooja
65kg: Anita, Gargi Yadav, Ritu Malik
68kg: Rajni, Naina, Kavita
76kg: Kiran, Jyoti, Sudesh, Pooja, Rani.