In what seemed like a repeat of Bollywood film Dangal, defending gold-medallist Babita Kumari Phogat’s father Mahavir Phogat couldn’t get inside the Carrara Sports arena to watch her final bout against Canada’s Diana Weicker. This time, however, there was no sinister plan involved like in the film to make him miss the bout. The reason he couldn’t enter was there were no tickets available. Babita claimed her father came to watch her bout for the first time abroad and alleged that she wasn’t even given the customory two tickets entitled to every athlete.
“My father came for the first time (abroad) to watch my bout and I am sad that he has been here since morning but could not get tickets. An athlete is entitled to two tickets but we have not even been given those. I tried so much, but he had to sit outside. He couldn’t watch it here and he couldn’t watch it on TV either,” an anguished Babita told PTI.
Babita claimed that even India’s Chef-de-mission, Vikram Sisodia, wasn’t helpful when she requested him to arrange tickets for her father.
It makes you feel bad. I spoke to everyone, including chef-de-mission,” he added.
Chef-de-mission Vikram Sisodia said the tickets marked for wrestlers had been given to their coach Rajeev Tomar and it was upto him to distribute.
“We give what we get from Commonwealth Games Federation to respective coaches. We gave five tickets for wrestling, we gave those to Mr Tomar, I don’t know why she could not get a ticket. Maybe the demand was too high,” he told PTI.
When asked whether all athletes should be treated at par when it comes to handing out accreditations to their parents, Babita said, “It was the first time my father came this far to see me fight. I feel sad, he kept waiting.
“I don’t care if he got accreditation or not, for me it was just a matter of tickets, that’s all. At least he could have watched,” she added.
“But if one athlete’s parent gets accreditation, others should also get, why should just one athlete get that.”
Earlier, shuttler Saina Nehwal threatened to pullout from the Commonwealth Games if her father was not given an all access accreditation.
In the end, the Australian wrestling team came to Babita’s aid and offered two tickets to her. He, however, missed the final bout.
“He managed to come inside after I asked the Australian team for a couple of passes. They helped me get him into the arena. I had requested everyone, whether it’s the IOA or chef-de-mission, I was requesting till 10pm yesterday even though I had bouts today and I had to rest,” Babita said.