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WFI accuses NGOs JSW, OGQ of ‘spoiling wrestlers’

WFI also said it will take feedback from wrestlers before deciding coaching staff

OLYMPICS-2020-WRE/W-FS53KG-QFNL Representational image. Vinesh Phogat of India in action against Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus | Reuters

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Thursday said it will consider feedback from Tokyo Games medallists Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya before deciding their coaching staff in the new Olympic cycle but will not accept any interference of NGOs like JSW and OGQ in the name of support to athletes.

Bajrang was trained by Georgia's Shako Bentinidis while Ravi had Russia's Kamal Malikov as his personal coach. Deepak Punia also had a Russian coach in Murad Gaidarov, whose services were terminated by the WFI when he assaulted a referee during the Tokyo Games.

All the coaches had their contracts till the Tokyo Olympics and the fresh ones will be finalised in a few days after WFI sits with the wrestlers, who are now busy with felicitations.

"Bajrang has a medal working with Shako Bentinidis. We will sit with him and listen to his views about his game. If he wants to continue (with Shako), we will consider that," WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh told PTI.

It is understood that both Bajrang and Shako want to continue their partnership. The Georgian is already at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bahalgarh (Sonepat).

The federation is also happy with the way Malikov has managed Ravi so far and would not mind continuing with the arrangement.

However, what WFI is peeved at is the way non-profit sports NGOs like Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) and JSW are "spoiling the wrestlers".

"The WFI and the Indian government is capable of supporting all its athletes. JSW and OGQ don't need to come from 'chor darwaja' (back door) and spoil our wrestlers. I urge them that they leave our wrestlers and Indian wrestling alone," Brij Bhushan said.

"We are not happy with the way they are interfering. If they want to help the wrestlers, they are welcome but let them work at the grassroots level. It's the Cadets who need support.

"They pick only established wrestlers and leave them when the results are not there. The government is spending crores of rupees on their coaching and travel and these people give a physio and start making tall claims," he said.

"If they want to come and support, let them come from the front door like the Tata is doing," he said.

It has been learnt that WFI was not happy that spouses of the wrestlers travelled abroad to be with their partners when they (wrestlers) were training ahead of the Olympics with the NGOs facilitating the travel.

The WFI was also unhappy that Vinesh Phogat travelled to Hungary where good sparring partners were not available.



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