India's top wrestlers protest against governing body president

(Xinhua) 13:16, January 19, 2023

NEW DELHI, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Over two dozen Indian wrestlers staged a protest on Wednesday against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the governing body of the sport in the country.

The wrestlers sat on a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar in India's capital New Delhi.

"The federation's job is to support the players, take care of their sporting needs. If there is a problem, it has to be resolved. But what to do if the federation itself creates the problem? Now we have to fight, we will not back down," Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia wrote on social media.

Alongside Punia, other top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, Sonam Malik and Anshu were also seen among the protesters in a picture posted from the protest site.

"Sportspersons work hard to win medals for the country, but the federation has done nothing but let us down," fellow bronze medalist Malik wrote on social media. "Players are being harassed by imposing arbitrary laws."

The wrestlers did not share the exact details of their grievances or their demands. However, it remains clear that they seek the removal of WFI president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh.

Punia told media wrestlers were being harassed by the WFI, adding that those who are a part of WFI know nothing about the sport.

"Our fight is not against the government or the Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI," Punia was quoted as having said.

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

Singh is a lawmaker of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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