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Sakshi Malik accuses junior wrestlers of running Brij Bhushan's 'propaganda'

Updated on: 03 January,2024 05:15 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

Malik had announced her retirement from the sport on December 21 in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh as WFI President

Sakshi Malik accuses junior wrestlers of running Brij Bhushan's 'propaganda'

Sakshi Malik, Sanjay Singh (Pic: AFP)

Sakshi Malik on Wednesday insisted that she has no issues with the newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India if Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh-loyalist Sanjay Singh is kept away from the body.

Malik had announced her retirement from the sport on December 21 in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh as WFI President. 

"I have given years of my life to wrestling and retired recently so you can tell how stressed I am mentally. There is an IT cell of Brij Bhushan on social media. These protestors are his people and running a propaganda for him. Brij Bhushan was making allegations against us earlier too during the protest," said Sakshi to the media in a press conference.

Wrestlers' protest: 'Govt is like parents for us', says Sakshi

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist also claimed that her mother has been receiving threat calls from former WFI chief Brij Bhushan's supporters.

Malik, 31, said they will accept a WFI without Sanjay Singh but ruled out her own involvement in running of the federation.

"We don't have any issues with the new federation except one man, Sanjay Singh. We don't have any issue if the new body comes back without Sanjay Singh. We do not have any issue with the ad-hoc committee as well," Malik told reporters.

"The government is like parents for us and I would request them to make wrestling safe for the upcoming wrestlers. You have seen how Sanjay Singh has been behaving. I don't want Sanjay Singh's interference in the federation," she added.

"I can only make a request. If the ministry says he won't come back it will be better. Everybody saw the kind of power abuse by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh after the WFI elections. He announced junior nationals at his home without much deliberation."

Also Read: Silence is ‘not’ golden

Wrestlers' protest: WFI elections at a glance

Sanjay Singh had defeated 2010 CWG gold medallist Anita Sheoran by a huge 40-7 margin.

Prem Chand Lochab, who was from the Sheoran panel and had the backing of Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, was elected secretary general.

Sakshi also requested the ad-hoc panel to conduct age group nationals at the earliest.

"I don't want that any young wrestler suffers because of us. The ad-hoc committee has already announced senior nationals and I request the ad-hoc committee to announce the U15, U17 and U20 nationals."

Interestingly, hundreds of junior wrestlers on Wednesday assembled at Jantar Mantar to protest against Malik, Phogat and Punia, who they blamed for the mess in Indian wrestling.

Malik then revealed that her family is getting threats.

"For past two-three days, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's goons have become active. My mother is getting threats through phone calls. People are calling and saying that a case will be registered against someone in my family.

"People on social media are abusing us but they should remember that they have sisters and daughters at their home."

Also Read: What’s sports without patriarchy?

Asked if she would consider becoming a sports administrator, Malik replied in a negative.

"I am disturbed. We just want that junior wrestlers to not suffer. As of now I don't have it in my mind.

"We are being blamed for junior wrestlers' loss and that's incorrect. If women are involved in running of sport, that will be good," she said.

When informed about junior wrestlers' protest against them at Jantar Mantar, Malik said, "I have given 18-20 years to wrestling. Only I know what I have gone through in the last few months." 

(With agency inputs)

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