Bajrang, Vinesh lead wrestlers' protest against WFI president's 'dictatorship' - Hindustan Times
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Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat lead top Indian wrestlers' protest against WFI President's 'dictatorship'

PTI |
Jan 18, 2023 02:29 PM IST

Bajrang, Vinesh, Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik, world championship medallist Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha and CWG medallist Sumit Malik were among 30 wrestlers who have assembled at Jantar Mantar.

In an unprecedented move, the country's top wrestlers, including Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, staged a protest against the "dictatorship" of national federation President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Wednesday.

New Delhi: Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik stage a strike against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in New Delhi, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (PTI01_18_2023_000066B)(PTI)
New Delhi: Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik stage a strike against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in New Delhi, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (PTI01_18_2023_000066B)(PTI)

The wrestlers did not share the exact details of their grievances or their demands but it was clear that they are fed up with the way the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is being run by Singh, who is also a BJP MP from Kaiserganj.

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Bajrang, Vinesh, Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik, world championship medallist Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha and CWG medallist Sumit Malik were among 30 wrestlers who have assembled at Jantar Mantar.

"Our fight is not against the government or Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI. We will share details later in the day. 'Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai' (It's a fight to the finish)," Bajrang Punia told PTI.

Bajrang's support staff, including his coach Sujeet Mann and physio Anand Dubey have also joined the protest.

"The dictatorship will not be tolerated," said another wrestler.

Singh has been at the helm since 2011. He was elected President of WFI for the third consecutive time in February 2019.

"The players make every effort to win medals for the country but the federation has not done anything except downgrading us. Arbitrary rules are being framed to torture the athletes," tweeted Sakshi.

Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat and other wrestlers also tweeted on the same lines with the hashtag BoycottWFIPresident and tagged PMO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

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