The newly-elected President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Sanjay Singh, who is a close aide of the former WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has responded to the question marks raised on his objectivity by asserting that he is not a dummy candidate of the latter.
Sanjay’s appointment as the new WFI chief has seen an uptick in the ongoing turmoil in Indian wrestling. It started off with Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik announcing her decision to retire from the sport. It was followed by yet another Olympic champion, Bajrang Punia, returning the Padma Shri award, that was bestowed upon him in 2019.
In a mark of protest, Bajrang left his Padma Shri on the pavement of Kartavya Path near the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi.
Speaking on the widespread unrest and the uproar surrounding his appointment and the ties that he has with Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Sanjay, mentioned, “Those who are athletes have already started preparing and those who want to engage in politics can do that. It is their personal matter, I will not speak about this.”
“I have been in the federation for 12 years. Just because I am close to MP (Brij Bhushan) does not mean I am a dummy candidate. Is it a crime if I am close to him?”
Notably, Brij Bhushan, who is also a BJP Lok Sabha MP (Member of Parliament), gave up his role as WFI President after being accused of sexual harassment and exploitation by some female wrestlers in the country like Sakshi and Vinesh Phogat.
He is a native of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and the new WFI President has announced that the U15 and U20 national competitions will be held in UP’s Gonda from December 28-30.
Expressing her concern over the venue, Sakshi has claimed that she has been receiving calls from junior women wrestlers who aren’t comfortable competing in the region.
“I have given up wrestling but I am worried since last night. What should I do about those junior women wrestlers who are calling me and telling me that the junior nationals are going to be held from 28th and the new wrestling federation has decided to hold it in Nandani Nagar Gonda?
“Gonda is the area of Brij Bhushan. Now imagine how the junior women wrestlers will go there to compete. Is there no place in this country to hold Nationals anywhere other than Nandani Nagar? I don’t understand what to do,” Sakshi was quoted as saying by PTI.
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