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Ravi, too, ‘declined’ the offer of an exemption?

The Tokyo Olympic silver medalist, like Sakshi, was given direct entry for Asiad; ad-hoc panel source indicates that his exclusion from the list of exempt wrestlers was due to a prior injury.

CHENNAI: Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik claimed on Thursday that the government had asked her to send an email if she wanted to be excluded from the Asian Games selection trials like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia.

It’s interesting to note that Ravi Dahiya, who won silver at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, was also supposedly called for the same reason.

Sources claim that Ravi, like Sakshi, declined to send an email requesting a reprieve from the trials. Instead, he insisted on competing in the trials so that he could legitimately stake a claim to a spot on the national team for the biennial competition.

A person with knowledge of the situation told this newspaper that Ravi “also got a call from the concerned authorities to write an email but he declined the exemption offer.”

He informed them that he would try to earn a spot on the team by competing in the trials.

Ravi was not granted direct entrance, the ad hoc committee later stated, due to concerns about his fitness. According to a highly placed source at the ad-hoc panel, which is overseeing wrestling across the nation in the absence of the Wrestling Federation of India, “Ravi was not given an exemption due to a fitness issue.”

The chief coach at the renowned Chhatrasal Stadium, where Ravi practises, Parveen Dahiya, dismissed the issue with Ravi’s fitness and stated, “He has been working out hard here at the facility. He is prepared for the current test both physically and emotionally. In sports, you never know, but I can assure you that Ravi will take part in the trials on Sunday, if nothing unfavourable occurs to him during the next two days.

Notably, after losing in the first round at the World Championships in September of last year, Ravi was supposed to compete internationally again at the Bishkek Ranking Series in Kyrgyzstan in June. He had to surrender his match in the competition, though, after suffering a right knee injury in practice.

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