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"Welcome, But Late": Top Athletes After Centre Suspends Wrestling Body

2023-12-24 07:35:13

Welcome Move, But Late, Say Top Athletes After Centre Suspends Wrestling Body

In January this year, wrestlers led a huge protest demanding action against Brij Bhushan

New Delhi:

Top athletes have welcomed the Sports Ministry’s move to suspend the newly elected management of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), but they also said the action came late.

They said the Centre must have stepped in earlier and taken strong action against the WFI for violating the sports body’s rules, instead of waiting for athletes to announce they are quitting or returning the Padma Shri.

The newly-elected WFI under Sanjay Singh, a loyalist of sex-harassment accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, had made a hasty announcement of organising the Under-15 and Under-20 nationals without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers, which violated the WFI’s constitution.

Olympian and wrestler Geeta Phogat in a post on X said she is confident wrestlers will finally get justice. “Sports Ministry has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India. Even though it is late, there is a ray of hope that wrestlers will get justice,” Ms Phogat said.

Vijender Singh, the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, who has been supporting the wrestlers’ fight against Brij Bhushan, said the Centre should have put the hammer down on the WFI much earlier.

“They made the woman to quit wrestling, the man to return the Padma Shri, and now they have suspended the wrestling federation. Action should have been taken earlier,” Vijender Singh, who is also a Congress leader, said in a post on X.

Two top wrestlers, Bajrang Punia and Virender Singh, have expressed their wish to return the Padma Shri in protest against what they claimed was a brazen show of power and influence by Brij Bhushan.

In protest against the election of the Brij Bhushan loyalist, wrestler Sakshee Mallikh had announced she quit the sport.

Breaking into tears during an interaction with the media three days ago, Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat alleged that with Sanjay Singh heading the WFI, women wrestlers would continue to face harassment.

In January this year, three wrestlers led a huge protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, demanding action against Brij Bhushan.

Geeta Phogat,Sakshi Malik,Bajrang Punia,WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh,WFI Sanjay Singh

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