WFI row: Vinesh Phogat returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award; leaves them on Kartavya Path in New Delhi : The Tribune India

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WFI row: Vinesh Phogat returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award; leaves them on Kartavya Path in New Delhi

The awards were later picked up by Delhi Police

WFI row: Vinesh Phogat returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award; leaves them on Kartavya Path in New Delhi

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat walks with her Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards, India's highest national sports awards, before leaving them on the Kartavya Path as a mark of protest, in New Delhi on December 30, 2023. PTI



PTI

New Delhi, December 30

Multiple World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat on Saturday returned her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award, keeping the two awards lying in the middle of National Capital’s Kartavya Path after Delhi Police stopped her from reaching the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Tuesday, the Asian Games gold medallist grappler had decided to return her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government, saying such honours have become meaningless at a time when wrestlers are struggling to get justice.

Phogat had announced her decision in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Saturday, she attempted to reach the Prime Minister’s Office to return her awards but the police prevented her from reaching the PMO.

As a mark of protest, she left the awards on the Kartavya Path and they were later picked up by Delhi Police.

Phogat, along with Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, had protested against the election of Sanjay Singh, a close aide of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who had been accused of sexual harassment by the three well-known grapplers.

Sakshi had also announced her retirement from wrestling soon after Sanjay Singh’s appointment as WFI Chief.

However, the Sports Ministry had later suspended the newly-elected panel for not following the provisions of its own constitution while taking decisions while asking the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to constitute an ad-hoc panel to manage the affairs of the sports body.

In her letter posted on X (formerly Twitter), Phogat had said that their lives are not like those “fancy government advertisements” that talk about women’s empowerment and upliftment.

Acting on the sports ministry directive, the IOA on Wednesday constituted a three-member ad hoc committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI.

#Asian Games #Vinesh Phogat


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