Wrestlers Demand Action, as WFI Chief Grapples with Intensifying Protests

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Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Updated: January 19, 2023, 19:19 IST

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik, Bajrang Punia and others protest against the Wrestling Federation of India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Thursday, Jan 19, 2023. (Pic/News18)

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik, Bajrang Punia and others protest in opposition to the Wrestling Federation of India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Thursday, Jan 19, 2023. (Pic/News18)

From Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Poonia, to Ravi Dahiya, a number of the nation’s greatest wrestlers are sitting on protest at Jantar Mantar demanding the elimination of WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual misconduct

The protest in opposition to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh intensified on Thursday after the nation’s prime wrestlers introduced that they’d not depart the nationwide capital till he resigns.

“We have come this far. Now, we will not leave until the government intervenes, and takes action against him,” mentioned wrestler Vinesh Phogat at Jantar Mantar the place the sportspersons from throughout Haryana have gathered to protest in opposition to the WFI chief.

In their grievance, the wrestlers have alleged that Singh, additionally a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, had been sexually harassing feminine wrestlers. They additionally alleged that Singh had been working the federation as per his whims and fancies which was impacting their performances.

Bajrang Poonia, who acquired a bronze medal within the 2020 Tokyo Olympics mentioned the athletes now need WFI to be disbanded.

“We have conveyed our concerns, and we have requested the government to act. We can also submit a police complaint, if it comes down to that. We cannot let the future of so many girls go dark like this,” mentioned Poonia, who later met senior officers on the sports activities ministry with different wrestlers. “We have won these medals because of our hard work, and we will do everything to protect our respect.”

The sportspersons rued that they’d shared their issues over the WFI chief’s misconduct on earlier events as properly, however to no avail. With slogans of “Ábhi Nahi Toh Kabhi Nahi” and “Inquilab Zindabad” reverberating through the air, the athletes said they would compete in any event till their demands are met.

Sarita Mor, another gold medallist female wrestler from Sonipat who joined the protest on Thursday, lamented the functioning of the federation. “This year is very important for every athlete. The Olympics are just a year away. But we are sitting here, because we have no other option. It anyway takes huge courage for any girl to step out of her house to fulfil her dreams of winning a medal. The federation has only made it more challenging,” mentioned Mor.

From Rio Gold medallist Sakshi Malik to Tokyo silver medallist Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Poonia, Sumit Malik— a number of the nation’s prime wrestlers have lent their help to the protest. On Thursday, Commonwealth Gold medallist Babita Phogat, who can be a BJP member, joined the protest.

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