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Wrestlers Deepak Punia, Sujeet Kalakal miss out on Asia Olympic Qualifiers due to flight delay

Both wrestlers were expected to dominate their respective events but failed to report for the weigh-in on time as their flight arrived late.

Written By: Kumar Rupesh @afiestysoul New Delhi Updated on: April 19, 2024 12:05 IST
Deepak Punia.
Image Source : PTI Deepak Punia.

Two of India's champion wrestlers Deepak Punia and Sujeet Kalakal will miss the Asia Olympic Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan as the duo failed to report for their respective weigh-ins on time after their flight arrived late in Bishkek due to bad weather in Dubai.

Both Punia and Sujeet were left stranded at the Dubai International Airport as torrential rain in the city led to flooding and the inclement weather eventually cost them their participation in the prestigious event.

As per a PTI report, the Indian coaches requested the organisers of the event in Bishkek to allow the late weigh-ins in an act of generosity but that was not allowed.

Punia, who competes in the 85-kilogram weight category and Sujeet, a contender in the 65-kilogram category endured ill fortune as the rough weather conditions prevailing in Dubai and flooding in the city led to the cancellations of many flights and a delay in others.

Both wrestlers were forced to sleep on the floor and struggled to arrange for food during their stay at the Dubai airport.

Sujeet's father, Dayanand Kalakal had a premonition that a delay may cost both wrestlers heavily and that's what it eventually turned out to be.

"They were stuck at the Dubai airport since April 16 and it seems the chance of qualifying for the Paris Olympics is slipping out of their hands as they are scheduled to compete tomorrow. They are not getting any flights to Bishkek. I am worried about them," Dayanand Kalakal had told PTI on Thursday.

Notably, both Deepak and Sujeet were training in Dagestan, Russia from April 2 to 15 for the Asia Olympic Qualifiers as the event in Bishkek was an opportunity for them to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

However, it is not the end of the road for the two Indian wrestlers as they can still compete at the World Qualifiers in Turkey in May to earn qualification for Paris.

 

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