Some top women wrestlers are unhappy with the shifting of the National camp from Sonepat to Lucknow, even as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have backed the move in order to maintain ‘discipline.’
The National camp for women wrestlers used to be held at NIS Patiala before it was allotted to SAI Centre at Sonepat, which had been the training base of the men grapplers as well, from May to September this year.
After receiving the news of the camp being shifted to Lucknow ahead of the Commonwealth championship in South Africa next month, some women wrestlers met the Regional Director of SAI Centre, Sonepat, Radhica Sreeman, and expressed their reservations against such a move.
The Regional Director wrote to the SAI headquarters about the situation.
In her letter, she mentioned that Sonepat had emerged as the “hub” of wrestling with six mats and had enough space to accommodate all the wrestlers.
World championship bronze medallist Geeta Phogat said training with male wrestlers also helped the women.
“I had spoken to some of the junior wrestlers, who had attended a camp in Lucknow.
“The facilities are not good there. Here facilities are good and by training with the top men wrestlers we get to learn a lot.
“Since most of us belong to Haryana, sometimes we can visit home in a short time,” said Geeta.
Geetika Jakhar, an Asian Games medallist, agreed.
“Sonepat is nearer to our homes and closer to the airport. Since all the coaches are available at one place, it helps in training.”
WFI, however, had a different version.
“Since we have six girls in each weight in senior, junior and cadet categories, 42 wrestlers (along with the men) is a big number.
“Having both men and women at one place is not good. Since most of the girls belong to Haryana, they go home too often and receive a lot of visitors. So, discipline is not maintained,” said WFI secretary Raj Singh.
A SAI source said that the step was taken in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment in the past. It was also learnt that SAI had asked the WFI to recruit female coaches for the women’s camp.
The camp began at Lucknow on Tuesday. The wrestlers are expected to report from Wednesday.