Bajrang Punia demands action against Indian wrestling body

The Olympic medallist urged world governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) to reimpose suspension on the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

Bajrang Punia

Eastern Eye

OLYMPIC medallist Bajrang Punia last Thursday (15) urged world governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) to reimpose suspension on the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), saying reinstating the Sanjay Singh-led body has again put wrestlers under “threat and harassment”.

The UWW last Tuesday (13) lifted the provisional suspension imposed on WFI but with a condition: the national federation must provide written guarantees ensuring no discriminatory action against the protesting trio – Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat. “This decision has again put Indian wrestlers under threat and harassment by WFI members,” Punia wrote in his letter, shared on X, earlier Twitter.

UWW had suspended WFI on August 23 for not holding elections on time. After numerous hurdles, WFI finally held its polls and Sanjay Singh was elected President. “We, wrestlers, request you kindly support Indian athletes against unfair practices and harassment through various means. Indian wrestlers are looking up to you for justice and their rights to fair and safe play. “

We are hopeful that you will consider our request to support clean and fair sports activities in India and take necessary actions against the WFI.”

Punia sent a copy of the letter to sports minister Anurag Thakur. The Tokyo Games bronze medallist reminded UWW that the Indian Sports Ministry had on December 27 last year suspended WFI, citing “serious anomalies within days of taking charge.”

In response to the suspension, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) took proactive measures by forming an ad hoc committee to oversee and manage wrestling activities. “Despite these efforts, the suspended WFI members allegedly continued to make “blatant decisions and conduct sporting activities without any recognition from sports ministries, all under the same leadership.

“Wrestlers all over India have lost trust and belief in the functioning of Wrestling Federation of India. Because of this MYAS took diligent steps and issued a circular dated January 7, 2024.

“Even after this they have publicly issued statements against wrestlers and ad hoc committee. This elected body is still being run by same individual and their allies who have serious charges against them and MYAS also took the same in consideration while suspending the body,” he added.

Punia, Malik, and Vinesh Phogat had led a protest former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, demanding his arrest over sexual harassment allegations.