WFI poll charade: Tainted ex-chief will continue to call the shots - The Tribune India

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WFI poll charade

Tainted ex-chief will continue to call the shots

WFI poll charade

BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has managed to retain control of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) as one of his loyalists has succeeded him as its president.. PTI file photo



BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has managed to retain control of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) as one of his loyalists has succeeded him as its president. This is a major setback to the wrestlers’ agitation against the outgoing chief, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women grapplers. A heavily garlanded Brij Bhushan — brazenly unapologetic as ever — flashed the victory sign after the panel led by his aide Sanjay Singh clinched 13 of the 15 posts in the WFI poll. The results were a foregone conclusion and Brij Bhushan had exuded confidence on poll eve that Sanjay’s team would easily defeat the panel led by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran.

Disheartened by the outcome, Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik promptly announced her retirement from wrestling. Sakshi, along with fellow international wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, has been spearheading an agitation seeking justice for Brij Bhushan’s alleged victims. A thorough clean-up of the WFI was another key demand of the protesters, but things are back to square one after Thursday’s lopsided results.

Brij Bhushan has promised that the new dispensation will work impartially and the protesting wrestlers will not face vendetta. However, his words are not enough to pacify the aggrieved players. They wanted that no supporter of Brij Bhushan should become an office-bearer of the WFI; according to them, the government had given them a reassurance in this regard. They have every reason to feel frustrated and betrayed now. Punia has decided to return the Padma Shri award. This is a sad reflection on the administration of Indian wrestling; it is also symptomatic of the all-pervasive politicisation of sports in the country. Such unsavoury developments have undermined India’s stature in the international sporting arena. This does not augur well for the nation’s athletes in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics.

#BJP #Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh



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