Vinesh Phogat, an acclaimed Indian wrestler, withdrew from the Asian Games 2023 due to a knee injury she sustained on August 13. On Tuesday, August 15, announcing the news on Twitter (X), the wrestler said that the procedure will take place on August 17. “A couple of days ago, I injured my knee in training. After doing the scans, doctors said surgery is the only option for me. I will be undergoing surgery on August 17 in Mumbai,” she said.
Vinesh will now be replaced by Antim Panghal, who won the 53 kg trials, on India’s Asian Games team. The 19-year-old is in Jordan to take part in the U-20 World Championship.
The gold medalist from the 2018 Asian Games expressed her extreme disappointment at not being able to defend her title in this edition, which will be held in Hangzhou beginning on September 23.
“I will be undergoing surgery on 17th August in Mumbai. It was my dream to retain my Asian Games Gold medal for India which I won in 2018 at Jakarta. But unfortunately, this injury has ruled out my participation now. I have informed concerned authorities immediately so that the Reserve player can be sent to the Asian Games.
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) August 15, 2023
I would like to request all the fans to continue supporting me so that I can make a strong comeback on the mat soon and prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Your support gives me a lot of strength,” a two-time gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze medalist at the World Wrestling Championships added.
Reports also mention that Vinesh won’t be able to participate in the World Championships, whose trial is scheduled to take place in Patiala on August 25 and 26. The decision by the ad hoc tribunal to exempt Vinesh and Bajrang Punia from the Asian Games trials caused a significant uproar, with the bulk of the wrestling community opposing the action.
In an attempt to have the direct admissions given to Vinesh and Bajrang Punia for the Games overturned, Panghal and Sujit Kalkal (the trial winner in Bajrang’s 65kg category) had Vinesh and Bajrang Punia appear in court. However, the High Court had previously rejected their plea.
After that, the IOA-appointed commission decided not to grant any wrestlers an exemption for the Worlds trials. However, Vinesh and Bajrang had not formally declared their intention to compete at the World Championships.
It is important to note that Vinesh Phogat was at the center of the wrestler’s protest against former Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh which began in January this year. The wrestlers including Bajrang Punia and Sakshee Malik alleged that Singh had assaulted the female wrestlers. Two FIRs were registered against Singh on the complaint of seven female wrestlers, including one allegedly minor wrestler. Singh was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and POCSO Act. However, recently it was reported the minor wrestler withdrew her statement in front of the magistrate and recorded a new one under Section 164 of the CrPC.
However, on June 26, wrestlers called off the protest after IOA granted exemption them from trials. The protesting wrestlers announced that since the cases against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh are in court and a charge sheet has been submitted, they would keep their fight on, but in court, not in the streets.
The World Championships, which are set to begin on September 16, will serve as the opening round in the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying process.