Vinesh Phogat: WFI decision to cancel Olympic trials smacks of unprofessionalism

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Vinesh Phogat: WFI decision to cancel Olympic trials smacks of unprofessionalism

Vinesh Phogat has sharply criticized the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for their decision to cancel selection trials for the 2015 Paris Olympics. Phogat claims that 53kg wrestlers who were hoping to face Antim Panghal for a berth in the team that will compete in the Olympics will be severely harmed by this decision. The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) own the quotas in wrestling, as opposed to the individual athletes who have won them in boxing.

At the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek last month, Phogat qualified for her third consecutive Olympics, this time in the 50kg class. However, her decision to compete in two weight classes, the 50kg and the 53kg, at the Olympic qualifying trials in Patiala in March caused much controversy, with rumors that the ad hoc committee had bent the rules for the double World Championships medallist.

In a change from their previous position, the WFI selection committee convened on Tuesday in New Delhi and decided against the necessity to hold any more trials. "It was never evident where they stood. All they have done is confuse the wrestlers. They first drew up a convoluted selection process in which a challenger was meant to face the quota winner. They appear to have forgotten about that system now. I have no idea what's happening," stated Phogat.

When I tried out for two weight categories (50 kg and 53 kg) in March, I received a lot of criticism from people, but I knew WFI would get into trouble later. I competed in two weight classes in Patiala because of this. We've been informed there will be a trial the entire time, then all of a sudden they say there won't be one. Does this treat the wrestlers that participated in the 53kg trials fairly?

Phogat's first international competition in the 50 kg division in six years took place at the Bishkek qualifier. With a rigorous training and nutrition plan, the accomplished wrestler is steadily moving into the lightest Olympic weight class.

It's really important to control your weight. It's not easy to go from 53 kg to 50 kg, but I'm getting used to it. I'm not experiencing cravings or blackouts. When I'm hungry, I make sure to eat the appropriate foods in the appropriate quantities. She claimed that although it is a very scientific procedure, the body eventually adapts.

"The most difficult task is psychological, but as athletes, we are prepared for it. I want to offer everything I have for Paris after such a difficult year."