While India brought its biggest haul of medals at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, it could have added a couple more to the tally, if the players had restrained themselves and not let their egos affect their game. Reportedly, star wrestler Vinesh Phogat and paddler Manika Batra have come under the scanner for their unruly behaviour during the games.
On Wednesday (August 10), the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) temporarily suspended Vinesh Phogat and served a notice, for which she has the time till August 16 to reply.
“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 event until she files a reply and WFI takes a final decision,” a WFI source was quoted as saying by PTI.
Reportedly, Vinesh had travelled to Tokyo from Hungary, along with her coach while the entire contingent took off from India. After reaching Tokyo, Phogat refused to stay with the Indian camp at the Games village and did not train with the members as she feared she would contract Coronavirus.
Several media reports have stated that Phogat did not even wear the name of the official sponsors of the Indian contingent, Shiv Naresh, and instead chose to wear a Nike singlet during her bouts.
“She did not train with any of the Indian wrestlers. It appeared as if she had come with the Hungary team and had nothing to do with the Indian contingent. One day her timing clashed with the training timings of the Indian girls and she chose not to train at the same arena with them,” the official added.
Similarly, ace paddler Manika Batra’s ‘Act of Indiscipline’ by not allowing national coach Soumyadeep Roy during her matches has not been well received by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTF).
Manika had taken her personal coach Sanmay Paranajpe to the Games but he was only allowed to train with her and the player’s request for his Field of Play access was denied by the organisers. Speaking to Sportstat, Manika tried to play down the controversy stating, “He (Roy) sat for our mixed doubles match. Later, he asked me and I told him I would play alone. He was fine with it.”
Moreover, Manika Batra attended the national camp in Sonepat ahead of the Games for just three days when the camp lasted more than three weeks. It has almost been a week since TTF sought a formal explanation from Batra for her behaviour. A show-cause notice is expected to be dispatched soon.
India logged its best-ever performance at the Olympic Games, winning seven medals, including a first Gold in the track and field events, courtesy Neeraj Chopra. However, the aforementioned controversies have soured the taste of an otherwise emphatic campaign.
Hopefully, both athletes learn from their mistakes after serving the due punishment and rise above the petty squabbles when it comes to winning medals for the country. The next Olympics is only three years away and the new cycle has already begun. Both athletes are medal prospects but they need to mend their ways.