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WFI Elections: Brij Bhushan loyalist to bag the top job?

Source: PTI
December 20, 2023 18:15 IST
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Sanjay Singh, the Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh loyalist, on Wednesday exuded confidence of sweeping the much-delayed Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections, saying the fraternity knows who would be beneficial for the sport and who could inflict damage to it.

UP Wrestling Association vice-president Sanjay, who hails from Varanasi, is up against Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran for the post of president. Anita is backed by the country's top wrestlers, who had accused outgoing WFI president Brij Bhushan of sexually exploiting women grapplers during his tenure.


The WFI office was teeming with the state officials who have gathered for Thursday's elections. A few coaches and referees were also present and all hoped for a favourable outcome.

If sources are to be believed, the Sanjay Singh panel, backed by Brij Bhushan, has the support of at least 41 out of 50 electoral college members.

Except for the state of Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha, the rest are believed will vote for the Sanjay Singh panel.

"The entire fraternity knows who has worked for the betterment of the sports and who have tried to cause damage. The work done by the WFI in the last 11 years is a proof that the sport of wrestling has grown at a good pace in India. People will have that in mind when they will cast their votes," Sanjay Singh told PTI.

The elite wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat, had spearheaded the agitation at Jantar Mantar against Brij Bhushan.

They were promised that none of Brij Bhushan's family members or associates will be allowed to contest the elections.

Consequently, neither Brij Bhushan's son Prateek nor son-in-law Vishal Singh entered the fray.

Sanjay Singh is a close associate of Brij Bhushan, the BJP MP from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh, but the returning officer had cleared his nomination.

"There is tremendous trust in the ability of Brij Bhushan that he has done a good job to bring about improvement in the level of sport. The financial health of the federation has also improved considerably under him. That's why he still has the backing of the fraternity," said a member of the electoral college.

Besides the post of the president, elections will also be held for the posts of senior vice-president (1), vice-presidents (4), secretary-general (1), treasurer (1), joint secretaries (2), executive members (5).

The election process, which was set in motion in July, has been delayed because of court cases. This has further led to the suspension of the WFI by the international federation, United World Wrestling, for failing to conduct fresh polls in the time stipulated by them.

The Supreme Court recently set aside the stay imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, paving the way for the process to elect the new WFI governing body.

With the Supreme Court clearing the path for the elections, the returning officer, Justice (retd) MM Kumar, announced the election date.

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