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Wrestling

I have received death threats: Vinesh Phogat

'If anything happens to any of us sitting here, only the WFI President will be responsible,' said Vinesh Phogat at the protest site.

Vinesh Phogat
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Vinesh Phogat (United World Wrestling)

By

PTI

Updated: 18 Jan 2023 2:39 PM GMT

In a startling revelation, a crying Vinesh Phogat on Wednesday alleged that Wresting Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for many years, a charge vehemently rejected by the sports administrator and BJP MP.

Vinesh, who has been at loggerheads with WFI since the Tokyo Olympic Games, also claimed that several coaches at the national camp in Lucknow have also exploited women wrestlers, adding that there are a few women at the camp who approach wresters at the behest of the WFI President.

The 28-year-old though clarified that she herself never faced such exploitation but claimed that "one victim" was present at the 'dharna' they began at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.

Vinesh also claimed that she had received death threats at the behest of WFI President from officials close to him because she dared to draw Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attention to several issues plaguing Indian wrestling when she met him after the Tokyo Games.

"I have received death threats from people who are close to the WFI President. If anything happens to any of us sitting here, only the WFI President will be responsible."

Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik, world championship medallist Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Anshu Malik, Sonam Malik, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha, Amit Dhankar and CWG medallist Sumit Malik were among 30 wrestlers who assembled at the famous protest site.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, 66, was elected President of WFI for a third consecutive term in February 2019.

Sitting beside Vinesh, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said the federation is being run in an arbitrary manner and they will not compete in any international competition unless the WFI President, who is no less than a "dictator", is removed.

"Our fight is not against the government or the Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI. 'Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai' (It's a fight to the finish). We will continue this protest until WFI President is removed," Bajrang said.

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