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'Indian wrestlers under threat and harassment by WFI members'

Source: PTI
February 15, 2024 15:35 IST
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IMAGE: Bajrang Punia said reinstating the Sanjay Singh-led Wrestling Federation of India has again put wrestlers under 'threat and harassment'. Photograph: Bajrang Punia/Instagram

Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia urged world governing body UWW to reimpose suspension on Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), saying reinstating the Sanjay Singh-led body has again put wrestlers under 'threat and harassment'.

The United World Wrestling (UWW) on Tuesday lifted the provisional suspension imposed on WFI but with a condition: the national federation must provide written guarantees ensuring no discriminatory action against the protesting trio - Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat.


"This decision has again put Indian wrestlers under threat and harassment by WFI members," Punia said in his latter, which he posted on X on Thursday.

UWW had suspended WFI in August 23 for not holding elections on time. After numerous hurdles, WFI finally held its polls and Sanjay Singh was elected president.

"We wrestlers request you kindly support Indian athletes against unfair practices and harassment through various means. Indian wrestlers are looking up to you for justice and their rights to fair and safe play.

"We are hopeful that you will consider our request to support clean and fair sports activities in India and take necessary actions against the WFI."

Punia sent a copy of the letter to Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.

The Tokyo Games bronze medallist reminded UWW that the Indian Sports Ministry had on December 27 last year suspended WFI, citing "serious anomalies within days of taking charge."

In response to the suspension, MYAS took proactive measures by forming an Ad Hoc Committee to oversee and manage wrestling activities.

"Despite these efforts, the suspended WFI members allegedly continued to make "blatant decisions and conduct sporting activities without any recognition from sports ministries, all under the same leadership.

"Wrestlers all over India have lost trust and belief in functioning of Wrestling Federation of India. Because of this MYAS took diligent steps and issued a circular dated January 7, 2024.

"Even after this they have publicly issued statements against wrestlers and Ad Hoc Committee. This elected body is still being run by same individual and their allies who have serious charges against them and MYAS also took the same in consideration while suspending the body," he added.

Punia, Malik, and Vinesh Phogat had led a protest former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, demanding his arrest over sexual harassment allegations.

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