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'The player want self-respect': Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, Phogat sisters, others join protest against national body

India's top wrestlers gathered at Jantar Mantar protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)'s high-handed way of functioning.

'The player want self-respect': Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, Phogat sisters, others join protest against national body

Indian wrestlers gather at Jantar Mantar

  • Karen Noronha

Last Updated: 08.41 AM, Jan 18, 2023

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Top Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sonam Malik, and Anshu have gathered at Jantar Mantar to demonstrate against the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) tyrannical organisational style.

The wrestlers did not express their complaints or requests in detail, but it was clear that they are dissatisfied with the way Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) president who is also a Kaiserganj-based BJP MP, is running the organisation.

Sakshi Malik, on Twitter, wrote, "Sportspersons work hard to win medals for the country, but the Federation has done nothing but let us down. Players are being harassed by imposing arbitrary laws". 

Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia also took to Twitter and wrote, "The job of the federation is to support the players, take care of their sporting needs. If there is a problem, it has to be solved. But what if the federation itself creates the problem? Now we have to fight, we will not back down".

Vinesh Phogat, who has won medals for India, on Twitter wrote, "The player wants self-respect and prepares for the Olympics and big games with full vigor, but if the federation does not support him, the morale breaks down. But now we will not bow down. Will fight for our rights".

Along similar lines, Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, and other wrestlers tweeted using the hashtag #BoycottWFIPresident and included the PMO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah in their mentions.

Since 2011, Singh has been in charge and in February 2019, he was chosen to lead WFI for the third time in a row.

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