HomeSportsJunior wrestlers protest in Jantar Mantar, blaming Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and...

Junior wrestlers protest in Jantar Mantar, blaming Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat for their career failures.

The protestors hoisted banners that said, 'UWW defend our wrestling from these 3 wrestlers,' emphasizing their displeasure with the top sportsmen.

In an unexpected turn of events, hundreds of young wrestlers assembled at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to protest the loss of a vital year in their wrestling careers. Junior wrestlers from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi voiced their displeasure, attributing the defeat to elite wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat.

The demonstration represented a remarkable turnaround from about a year before when Punia, Malik, and Phogat had received overwhelming backing at the same place. At the time, the trio charged previous WFI (Wrestling Foundation of India) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing women and garnering widespread support from all areas of society.

However, the present protest is centered on young wrestlers who feel Punia, Malik, and Phogat are to blame for their suspended training and tournaments. Because of the WFI’s two-year ban, national camps and tournaments have been halted since January 2023, with an ad hoc commission supervising the sport.

Fresh protest erupts in Indian Wrestling

Activists at Jantar Mantar demanded the reinstatement of the banned WFI and the dissolution of the ad hoc panel constituted by the sports ministry to supervise wrestling matters.

The unexpected protest shows internal strife within the wrestling fraternity and raises concerns about the foreseeable future of wrestling in India.

Sakshi Malik does not want future wrestlers to suffer:

Sakshi Malik stated that she does not want young wrestlers to suffer and encouraged the ad hoc committee to declare nationals for the U15, U17, and U20 weight classes. “I would not like any young wrestler to suffer as a result of our actions.” The ad hoc committee has already revealed the senior nationals, and I propose that the U15, U17, and U20 nationalities be announced as well.”

Sakshi Malik

“For the past year, I’ve been both emotionally and physically exhausted.” I had no notion Sanjay Singh, Brij Bhushan’s adviser, would be elected president. “I’m not sure what I’ll do after that,” Sakshi Malik remarked when asked whether she plans to run in the WFI elections. The sports ministry suspended the WFI for failing to follow the regulations while declaring nationals. The Indian Olympic Association formed the ad hoc committee after the government directed it to administer the federation’s activities for the time being.

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