Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Suspension of WFI body is betterment for wrestlers: Sakshi Malik

The sports ministry of India suspended the newly elected WFI body on Sunday, saying the federation was "in complete control" of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik

Sakshi Malik talking to the media as Bajrang Punia (left) listened to her remarks. (Source: Hindustan Times)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 24 Dec 2023 10:43 AM GMT

Sakshi Malik, who announced her retirement from wrestling in protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh loyalist Sanjay Singh's annexation to the top post of the federation, said the suspension of the newly elected body of the federation by the sports ministry is for the betterment of the wrestlers.

"This has happened for the betterment of the wrestlers. We had been saying that this was the fight of the daughters and sisters," said Sakshi.

Asked about her retirement, she said, "This is the first step...I will tell you about the decision according to the federation that would be formed..."

Sakshi, India's first woman to win an Olympic medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, broke down during a press conference at the press club in Delhi after Anita Sheoran, the candidate the wrestlers supported for the WFI president's post, lost the election 7-40 to Sanjay Singh, a close friend of Brij Bhushan.

The Indian wrestlers had been protesting against Brij Bhushan since January this year accusing him of sexual harassment, molestation, stalking and intimidation of women wrestlers.

Following their protest, the sports ministry had declared the executive body of the WFI headed by Brij Bhushan null and void and ordered a fresh poll. As Brij Bhushan had completed his maximum tenure and the poll was impending, the UWW banned the federation for its failure to conduct the poll on time.

As the sports ministry, under the surveillance of an advisory committee, prepared to conduct the poll, Brij Bhushan's influence in the WFI had remained, with him nominating Sanjay Singh for the president post.

Sheoran, on her part, several times, requested the ministry not to allow Brij Bhushan's loyalists to contest the poll.

Now, as Sanjay Singh won the poll along with 12 other Brij Bhushan loyalists, the wrestlers expressed their disappointment in the press conference.

While Sakshi announced her retirement, Bajrang Punia left his Padma Shri medallion at a Delhi footpath. Virender Singh, popularly known as Goonga Pehelwan, also said he would return the Padma Shri award to express his solidarity with the protesting wrestlers.

On Sunday, the union sports ministry suspended the executive body for organising the U15 national championships in Gonda on short notice.

"Decision to hold nationals in Gonda was made as no other federation was ready to host it at this short notice. We wanted to save one year of our athletes. I have LS polls ahead and the new office bearers can do what they feel like," said Brij Bhushan.

The sports ministry, citing the reason for suspension, said the federation was "in complete control" of its former office-bearers. The ministry also noted that the 'business of Federation' was being run from the premises controlled by former office bearers.3

Next Story