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NO TICKETS FOR BABITA’S FATHER

The man who coached Babita Phogat could not be present to see her win the silver. The Aussies came to the rescue

There was no disgruntled coach to lock him out as shown in the blockbuster movie “Dangal” but Mahavir Phogat still missed watching daughter Babita Phogat’s silver-winning campaign at the Commonwealth Games today after he could not lay his hands on tickets to get inside the venue.

The legendary coach, whose life story has achieved cult status owing to the success of ‘Dangal’, was here to watch defending gold-medallist Babita compete in the 53 kg category. However, he could only wait outside as his daughter grappled inside the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre here.

“My father came for the first time 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 said, her voice choking.

Mahavir Phogat finally managed to make it inside when the Australian wrestling team came to Babita’s aid and offered two tickets to her.

“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.

“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.”

Her answer assumes significance in the context of the controversy that was triggered by star shuttler Saina Nehwal’s threat to pull out of the Games if her father was not given an all access accreditation.