Vinesh Phogat will be free to compete in the trials to select the Indian team for the World Championships after the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), decided to end disciplinary proceedings against the World bronze medalist on Wednesday.
In a letter addressed to three athletes - Phogat, Asian Champion Divya Sain and World cadet champion Sonam Malik against whom disciplinary procedings had been initiated, the federation wrote "Although your written reply you had sent to the WFI office in response to the show cause notice against you was not satisfactory, the WFI wants to give you another chance so that you can correct your errors."
On August 10th, after she had been knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics following a defeat in the quarterfinals, Vinesh had been suspended and issued a show-cause notice by the WFI, with three charges of misdemeanour during the Games.
Headed by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the WFI had accused Vinesh of staying and training away from her teammates, while also refusing to wear the official team singlet during her bouts at the Tokyo Olympics. The charges against Sain was that her father had criticized the WFI in a video while the case against Malik was that she had not collected her passport from the WFI office but had instead asked the WFI to send the document to the Sports Authority of India.
Phogat had sent a response drafted by a senior advocate denying two of the WFI's charges while admitting the failure to wear the team singlet in the competition was an 'unintended error'.
Phogat's future in the sport was in limbo, since even a temporary ban would have ruled her out of the selection trials, which were to have been held on August 31st. Phogat will now be in a position to participate in the trial, which once won would then allow her to make the team for the World Championships in Oslo.
"Now that they have been cleared by the disciplinary committee, they are free to compete in the selection trials for the World Championships. Vinesh is a senior wrestler and both Divya and Sonam are young players so it was felt to give them another chance," WFI secretary Vinod Tomar told ESPN.
However while permitting the three wrestlers to return to competition, the WFI held out the possibility that any further breaches of discipline might incur a life ban. "The wrestling Federation of India forgives you with a warning. However if this mistake is repeated again, the WFI may be forced to issue a life ban," the WFI's response to the three wrestlers read.