Bajrang helpless as SAI back out

World Championship bronze-medallist Bajrang Kumar has been left “heartbroken” after the SAI refused to bear his expenses for the Dave Schultz Memorial International tournament in Colorado Springs, saying the grappler can travel to the USA “at no cost to government”.

The last-minute refusal by the Sports Authority of India to sanction Bajrang’s travel, boarding and lodging expenses for the fortnight long training-cum-competition programme has robbed the promising grappler of a chance to compete against the world’s best under a new weight category, keeping Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships in mind this year.

Bajrang got the news from his federation hours before leaving for the airport to join his other team-mates, who flew by early morning on Thursday to US accompanied by chief national coach Vinod Kumar.

The squad comprises Amit Kumar Dahiya, Sandeep Tomar, Rahul Aware, Amit Dhankhar, Praveen Rana, Pawan Kumar, Satyavrat Kadian and Rohit Patel for the January 30 to February 1 tournament and Bajrang’s name was there in the first list.

When contacted, Bajrang was reluctant to speak on the matter as the talks between Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and SAI officials were still on to send the grappler to the USA.A WFI official, on the condition of anonymity, said this was the first time SAI had acted in such a manner.

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