With less than 20 days till the Tokyo Olympics, the travel plans of both Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat’s foreign coaches remain questionable.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is still waiting for permission to fly Shako Bentinidis (Bajrang’s coach) and Woller Akos (Vinesh’s coach) to Tokyo.
They are still undecided. We’re doing everything we can to secure approval for both instructors. However, given the current state of Tokyo and the COVID-19 protocols, it is difficult,” a WFI official told Sportskeeda.
Their personal physiotherapists, by the way, have been granted permission to attend the Tokyo Olympics.
Why is the WFI having so much trouble allowing Shako and Akos to compete in the Tokyo Olympics?
Both Bajrang and Vinesh are presently training outside of India in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which will begin on July 27.
Vinesh is training in Estonia, while Bajrang is attending a preparatory camp in Vladikavkaz, Russia.
The number of officials heading to the Tokyo Olympics cannot exceed one-third of the competitors, according to the new rules. The sports ministry, on the other hand, has the authority to authorise more officials at no cost to the government.
National coaches will be given priority over personal trainers, according to WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.
“The overall number of support staff who can travel with the contingent is limited to 33% of those who have qualified,” he stated.
Vinesh has been training with Akos for the past two years and is considered one of the best medal possibilities at the Tokyo Olympics. Under his tutelage, she won her first World Championship bronze medal in 2019. Akos, on the other hand, is not a member of the WFI.
“We won’t be able to send everyone to the Olympics in Tokyo. There are limitations, and precedence will be given to our national coaches who have worked at the national camp for a long time,” Tomar explained.
In the past, unaccredited support staff would use day permits to work with athletes. After obtaining prior approval, they would be able to enter the Games village with the pass. They’d train with athletes and then leave the area.
The support workers would set up a workstation in hotel rooms if they were not allowed to access the Games village.