Overweight Vinesh Phogat disqualified from Olympic qualifier
In an unfortunate turn of India, ace female wrestler Vinesh Phogat was on Friday disqualified from the 1st World Olympic Qualifying event for being overweight on a day when other women grapplers also failed to book Rio Games berth.
Vinesh weighed 400gm more than what was stipulated to be eligible for the 48kg category competition. “Vinesh was overweight by 400 gms, so she was disqualified from the competition,” a top official in the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) told PTI.
India lost out on a chance to ensure an Olympic berth in 48kg and are now left with just one more opportunity to book a ticket to the Rio Games at the last Olympic qualifier - 2nd World Qualification tournament - scheduled to be held at Istanbul, Turkey from May 6-8.
The official said a stern warning has been issued to the 21-year-old wrestler and her coaches. “Vinesh and the coaches have been hauled up for costing India a chance to qualify for the Rio Games. Since she is a first time offender, she has been given a warning,” he said.
According to the official, Vinesh has pleaded with the WFI for another chance and she would leave no stone unturned to ensure a place in the Olympics in her weight division at the next event in Istanbul. “Vinesh has assured us that she would give her 200 per cent in Istanbul and make sure that she qualifies for the Olympics. But if she fails there as well, she would be issued a show-cause notice after her return to India,” said the official.
Asked why WFI is not considering sending someone else for next month’s competition in Istanbul, he explained: “Firstly, the difference between Vinesh and the next girl in line in 48kg category is huge. In fact, getting someone else’s visa done at the last moment is also not feasible. Secondly, Vinesh is already in the core group of players for the Olympics and has been training in Sofia for a long time now. She is our best bet to qualify for Rio.”
The Indian female wrestling team – which includes Vinesh, and her cousins Geeta and Babita Phogat – have been training in Sofia, Bulgaria since the first week of April.
Meanwhile, other women grapplers in fray - Babita (53kg), Geeta (58kg), Anita (63kg) and Navjot Kaur (69kg) and Jyoti (75kg) - could not make it to the medal round, hence losing out on a chance to book Olympic berths.
While Babita, veteran Geeta and Jyoti went down in the repechage rounds of their respective weight categories, Anita and Navjot crashed out in the early stages of the competition.