WFI announces top grade contracts for Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Pooja Dhanda; Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik overlooked
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) included India’s top-ranked wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Pooja Dhanda in the top Rs. 30-lakh Grade A category as per the revolutionary contract systems. Meanwhile, Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik were overlooked in the top grade.
Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat won the Commonwealth and Asian Games Gold medals earlier this year and were kept in the top grade by the federation. Meanwhile Pooja recently won the bronze at the World Championships.
Vinesh was overwhelmed after she was awarded the contract and said it was an added motivation for her as a wrestler. “It is good for the junior wrestlers. It will be an added motivation. There will be medal, fame and support. It’s really a good incentive for the Cadet and junior level wrestlers,” said Vinesh to PTI.
Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik, who have been struggling of late, were included in grade 'B' which offers a sum of Rs. 20 lakhs for a year. All the contracts will be renewed by the federation after a gap of one year. The WFI is the only Olympic association–affiliated National Sports Federation to offer contracts to its athletes.
The Grade ‘C’ category, which offers an amount of 10 lakhs, includes wrestlers like Sandeep Tomar, Sajan Bhanwal, Vinod Om Prakash, Ritu Phogat, Sumit Malik, Asian Games bronze medallist Divya Kakran and Deepak Punia. The ‘D’ category, which gives financial support of Rs. 5 lakhs, includes Vijay, Ravi Kumar, Mansi, Simran, Rahul Aware, Naveen, Sachin Rathi and Anshu Malik.
The announcement was made by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of WFI, in the presence of Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath during the inauguration of Senior National Championships in Nandini Nagar on Friday.
Bhushan Singh informed that in spite of poor performances of late, Sushil Kumar and Sakshi had to be included in the list. “Sushil changed the face of the sport in the country with his two Olympic medals. We have to have him in the list despite the fact that he is not competing much. Sakshi’s performance is also going up and down but wrestlers can jump into the next category with good performance,” said Singh.