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Wrestling

IOA names Bhupinder Singh Bajwa as chairman of WFI ad-hoc committee

The newly formed ad-hoc committee, chaired by Bajwa, will feature MM Somaya and Manjusha Kanwar. They will be in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the WFI.

Bhupender Singh Bajwa
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Bhupender Singh Bajwa

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Dec 2023 10:36 AM GMT

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday named Bhupinder Singh Bajwa as chairman of the newly formed ad-hoc committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Earlier on Sunday, the union sports ministry wrote a letter to IOA president PT Usha, requesting her to look after the operations of the WFI.

The ministry suspended the newly elected committee of the federation on December 24 on the grounds of blatant disregard for the established legal and procedural norms of National Sports Codes while noting that the newly-elected body appeared to be in complete control of former office-bearers.

The IOA formed the ad hoc committee at the ministry's request. Bajwa was also part of the previous ad-hoc committee that was responsible for running the WFI and holding the elections after the sports ministry declared the former executive body of the federation null and void in the face of wrestlers' protests and allegations of sexual harassment of women wrestlers against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the former federation president.

In the newly formed ad-hoc committee, Bajwa will be accompanied by MM Somaya and Manjusha Kanwar in running the WFI.

The WFI is currently serving a ban imposed by the sport's international body, United World Wrestling (UWW), since the federation failed to conduct elections in time.

The sports ministry had suspended the newly elected body of the federation after wrestlers, who had protested against former federation president Brij Bhushan, an accused in the case of outraging the modesty of women wrestlers, objected to the victory of Sanjay Kumar Singh, a loyalist of Brij Bhushan.

The newly elected president Singh, who defeated former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran 40-7 in the elections, rushed to the bungalow of Brij Bhushan, a BJP MP from Kaiserganj, soon after winning the elections.

They also posed for photographs, with Brij Bhusan seen heavily garlanded by his supporters, gave statements and called for national U15 as well as the U20 championships in Gonda, the home turf of Brij Bhushan. It sparked an uproar among wrestlers.

To mark their protests against the latest development in Indian wrestling, Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik announced her retirement from the sport, as Bajrang Punia, Virender Singh and Vinesh Phogat returned their national awards bestowed upon them by the Indian government.

Following the ministry's intervention and Brij Bhushan's meeting with BJP president JP Nadda, the controversial MP said, 'I have nothing to do with wrestling now'.

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