The Wrestling Federation of India has temporarily suspended India’s star female wrestler Vinesh Phogar and has given her time till 16th August to respond to the notice. She has been suspended over her misconduct and indiscipline on three accounts during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics campaign.
Vinesh who was India’s prime medal hope crashed out of the Olympics after losing in the quarterfinals to Belarus’ Vanesa Kaladzinskaya, reportedly did not stay at the Olympics village, refused to train with the Indian contingent and even refused to wear a wrestling singlet with the team sponsor’s logo and competed in a singlet with a personal sponsor Nike’s logo.
If she fails to respond to the notice by 16th August or if her response is not satisfactory the WFI is considering a long term ban.
Even before the start of her Olympics campaign, she tweeted and expressed displeasure at not being allowed a physiotherapist to accompany her and other athletes to the Games. In the tweet, she wrote, “Is it a crime to ask for one Physiotherapist for four women wrestlers when there are instances of one athlete having multiple coaches/ Staff?”
Vinesh who was staying in Hungary to train with her coach Woller Akos, travelled to Tokyo directly, had refused to stay at the same floor of the Games Village and train with the other Indian team members.
News Agency PTI said that she “created a ruckus” when she was was allotted a room near the rooms of her India teammates Sonam Malik, Anshu Malik and Seema Bisla arguing that she might contract COVID-19 as other wrestlers had travelled to Tokyo from India. Vinesh wanted a room on a different floor and she did not stay for a single day with the other wrestlers nor trained with them. Rather, she trained with her coach Woller Akos’ wife.
She also did not wear the name of the official sponsors of the Indian contingent, Shiv Naresh, and chose to wear a Nike singlet during her bouts.
The WFI has said, “this is gross indiscipline. She has been suspended temporarily and barred from all wrestling activities. She can’t compete in any national or other domestic events until she files a reply and WFI takes a final decision,” further adding, “WFI was pulled up by Indian Olympic Association why can’t they control their athletes. IOA is issuing a notice to WFI in this regard.”