(200123) New Delhi: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat addresses the media during a protest. Image Source: IANS News
New Delhi, Aug 25 : Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medalist wrestler Vinesh Phogat slammed former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Saran Singh after United World Wrestling (UWW) provisionally suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) with immediate effect for not conducting elections on time.
The national wrestling governing body was supposed to conduct elections in June. Unfortunately, these elections have faced multiple delays due to a series of legal challenges put forth by different state units.
Then, the elections to pick the new administrators were slated to be held on August 12 but got further delayed after Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed WFI elections till further orders following a petition of the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA).
“The extent of damage Indian wrestling has suffered because of Brij Bhushan. if it is properly assessed, the true picture will come to light. The tricolor has been insulted because of this mafia,” Vinesh said in post on X (previously Twitter).
With the WFI election getting delayed, the UWW on Thursday suspended the Indian body, making it clear that the Indian wrestlers will have to contest under the UWW flag in international competitions.
In a series of post on Thursday, Olympic bronze medallist wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik also showed their discomfort against Brij Bhushan and described the day as a “black day for Indian wrestling” after the national body for the sport was suspended by UWW.
On April 27 the ad-hoc committee constituted by the IOA took the responsibility of conduction election and day-to-day function of the WFI. The panel was expected to conduct a fresh election for the federation within 45 days.
Notably, in June the UWW stimulated the IOA ad-hoc committee to respect the deadline, failing to do so will led to the suspension of the federation.
The WFI is in limbo since the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) set up an Oversight Committee to conduct day-to-day functions after a large number of wrestlers led by Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat sat in protest at the Janta Mantar in Delhi alleging Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment of female grapplers and overall mismanagement, demanding his removal from the post.