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War of Words: Vinesh Phogat, Brij Bhushan blame each other for WFI suspension

Brij Bhushan accuses the protesting wrestlers of making a mockery of the sport and the Haryana wrestling federation of deliberately delaying the WFI elections, which caused the suspension.

War of Words: Vinesh Phogat, Brij Bhushan blame each other for WFI suspension

Protests in Kolkata demanding Brij Bhushan's arrest (Sayantan Chakraborty/Shutterstock)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Aug 2023 10:11 AM GMT

Commonwealth champion Vinesh Phogat and outgoing WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh were involved in a war of words after the Wrestling Federation of India was suspended by UWW.

The world body suspended WFI on account of not holding elections within 45 days on Thursday.

The WFI elections were supposed to be held on August 12 but the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the polls, acting on a petition filed by Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA).

Vinesh, who was at the forefront of the sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar demanding Brij Bhushan Singh's arrest, took 'X' (formerly Twitter), to blame the BJP leader for bringing shame to the country and called him a 'mafia'.

"If one makes a correct assessment of the loss of reputation of the WFI due to Bri Bhushan, he will be completely exposed. The national tri-color has been shamed by a mafia," Vinesh wrote on her social media page.

Reacting to the WFI suspension, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh blamed the protesting wrestlers as the reason behind this action.

"These 'dharnaa jeevi' (protesting) players are responsible for WFI suspension. They are the ones who made fun of wrestling and wrestlers of the country," he said during a media conference in his hometown.

"This is a sad situation and for the first time, India has been banned by the UWW. If the problem persists, this will be a major loss for India and wrestling," he added.

Brij Bhushan also accused the Haryana wrestling federation of trying to delay the elections.

Brij Bhushan said that the UWW had given a categorical warning that if elections were not held within 45 days, India's membership would be canceled, and eventually, this happened.

He also said that he and his son Karan Singh had stepped aside and no one from his family is contesting the elections.

"Everyone knows that me and my son Karan Singh have stepped aside on the demand of the players. If the elections are not held, this is not on me but on these wrestlers who have accused me," he said.

After comments from Brij Bhushan Singh, Vinesh again took X to blame him.

"The federation is still in control of Brij Bhushan and he won't let anyone form an elected body without his interference. The man who has sexually harassed women wrestlers wants control of the federation because if any credible person takes over as WFI chief, then all his misdeeds will be exposed," Vinesh wrote on X.

With UWW banning WFI, the Indian wrestlers will compete as neutral athletes in the upcoming Wrestling World Championships in Belgrade from 16th September.

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