Sakshi Malik quits wrestling after Brij Bhushan Sharan close aide Sanjay Singh wins WFI Elections.


Sakshi Malik, the wrestler who won medals for the Country, announced her decision to quit wrestling. 

Sakshi Malik breaks down in tear after she announce her retirement.
Sakshi Malik breaks down in tear after she announce her retirement.

 

On the wrestling mat, they were known for their never-say-die attitude, but Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik appeared defeated on Thursday. In a Country like India where Athletes are not given the respect they need and on the other hand  close aide of rapist are becoming WFI president.

Wrestler Sakshi Malik left her shoes on the table in front of her after engaging with the media on Thursday evening. It was more than meets the eye—the equivalent of boxers hanging up their gloves and calling it quits.

While Sakshi, one of India’s most accomplished wrestlers, might have preferred to leave her boots on the synthetic mat—the site of a wrestler’s most difficult battles—the fact that she left them on a podium in front of journalists was symbolic of the nature of the fight she has been fighting this year.

With the gesture, it appeared that even the only Indian woman to win an Olympic medal in wrestling realised the battle was coming to an end.

But it wasn’t just her. On the wrestling mat, they were known for their never-say-die attitude, but Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi appeared defeated on Thursday.

Sakshi Malik shoes are seen on the table at the press club in New Delhi.
Sakshi Malik shoes are seen on the table at the press club in New Delhi.

 

They shook the foundations of Indian sport in early 2023 when they levelled severe sexual misconduct claims against then-Wrestling Federation of India head Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Despite a few historic successes, they confess that their struggle may have come up short.

Selection of new President who is a close aide of old president

Earlier on Thursday, the WFI held elections to select a new governing council. Following the claims, the Sports Ministry abolished the previous federation, which was led by Brij Bhushan. In the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police, the MP from Kaiserganj was held liable for prosecution for sexual harassment, molestation, and stalking of female wrestlers.

After the elections, it appears that little has changed, at least in terms of administration. Sanjay Singh, the newly elected president, is a close colleague of Brij Bhushan. Sanjay, the president of the Uttar Pradesh Wrestling Federation, defeated Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anita Sheoran by a margin of 40 votes to 7.

Sheoran was a witness and corroborator in the Brij Bhushan case.
All but three of the 15 positions for which elections were held were won by the faction led by Sanjay.
There was no dispute about who the victors eventually supported. When the results were revealed, screams of “Brij Bhushan Singh zindabad, Sanjay Singh zindabad” (long live Brij Bhushan Singh, long live Sanjay Singh) could be heard at the Indian Olympic Bhawan in New Delhi, where the polls were held.

Even as the winners were carried around on the shoulders of their supporters, garlanded with marigold chains, and then taken to Brij Bhushan Singh’s MP’s residence in Central Delhi’s Ashoka Road, the wrestlers whose protest had prompted the elections in the first place attempted to make sense of the situation.

After Sanjay Singh was elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India, supporters celebrated at the home of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. | Photo Credit: Manvender Vashist Lav
After Sanjay Singh was elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India, supporters celebrated at the home of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. | Photo Credit: Manvender Vashist Lav

 

Also Read: https://taaazakhabar.com/wfi-prohibits-brij-bhushan-singh-for-elections/

“We attempted to fight a man we knew was sexually harassing female wrestlers.” He then utilised his authority to shift the focus of our conflict to politics or religion. He did it because he had that kind of authority. You saw it, and so did we. We believed we could win this battle on our own. Our fight will go on. But perhaps another generation of wrestlers will win this,” Bajrang remarked during a press conference held by the wrestlers.

Vinesh, India’s most accomplished female wrestler, told about how her dreams had been destroyed. “The government had promised that there would be a woman president,” she explained. Instead, there hasn’t been a single woman elected. Brij Bhushan’s right-hand guy is Sanjay Singh. He is closer to him than his own son, according to Apne khud ke bete. Now that he is president, the next generation of female wrestlers will be victim to them. What has happened behind closed doors will be revealed.”

While he was optimistic about the future, Bajrang, who has four World medals and an Olympic bronze medal, confessed that his own career might be in jeopardy. “Whoever participated in the protests, whether we, the coaches, or the wrestlers, none of our futures are secure.” Anything can happen to any of us at any time. It might be anything from a vehicle accident to an accusation from A to Z. “All of us and the country have now witnessed his power and method of operation,” he remarked.

The newly chosen president appeared to have little desire for compromise. “Jinko kushti karein, woh kushti karein.” Jinko rajneeti karein, rajneeti karein. Rajneeti’s jawaab, Rajneeti’s akhade, Rajneeti’s akhade, Rajneeti’s akhade, Rajnee (Those wishing to compete should wrestle. Those who choose to participate in politics should do so. Those who choose to engage in politics will be met with opposition in the political arena),” he declared after his triumph was declared.

While the path ahead appears to be difficult for Bajrang and Vinesh, Sakshi concedes that it is all but over.

“Yeh ladai dil se ladi hai” (We fought this battle with all of our might). If Brij Bhushan’s business partner joins the WFI, I will retire from wrestling. “I’d like to thank all the Indians who have supported me throughout this process.” Sakshi then walked out of the press conference, teary-eyed.

Also Read: Brij Bhushan sexually harassed wrestlers at every opportunity he got, says Delhi Police


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