Participate in camp or not, Sakshi Malik in catch-22 situation

Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik on Friday made it clear that she will not commit to the upcoming national camp until other women wrestlers also confirm their participation.

“What is the point of joining the camp if there is no competition? I got to know that many girls have refused to join the camp, so what will I do there and train with whom?” Sakshi told IANS.

“There are ten days left for national camp to start, so I will wait and see who all are coming and who aren’t.”

When contacted, a senior Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) official said they will not allow anybody to skip the camp without giving a genuine reason.

“The federation chief (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) has done a lot for the wrestlers. He listens to wrestlers’ problems. After discussing with all, it was decided to hold a camp, but if wrestlers start acting like bosses and ditch us then how will it work,” said the official. “We will only exempt the wrestlers with genuine problem,” he added.

Earlier, star grappler Vinesh Phogat had pulled out of the national camp, starting from September 1 in Lucknow, citing coronavirus scare.

Speaking to IANS, Vinesh had said she has requested the federation to let her train alone and be exempted from the camp. Sushil Kumar will also train at his own centre Chhatrasal stadium in the national capital.

A total of 26 wrestlers in eight weight categories — five in freestyle and three in Greco Roman will take part in the month-long camp.

The women’s camp will be held in Lucknow with 15 wrestlers. The men’s camp will take place in Sonepat.

According to SAI protocols, athletes, coaches and support staff joining the camp will undergo mandatory COVID-19 test upon arrival and they will resume training after spending 14-day in quarantine.