Will We Send Daughters To Stadium, Boxer Vijender Singh On Wrestling Body Row

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'Will We Send Daughters To Stadium?': Vijender Singh On Wrestling Body Row

Vijender Singh had participated in the protest (File)

New Delhi:

Vijender Singh, India’s first boxer to win an Olympics gold medal, has announced his support to ace wrestler Sakshee Malikkh amid her fight against the former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whose aide yesterday succeeded him in the top post.

Ms Malikkh declared that she is quitting the sport after Sanjay Singh, a longtime aide of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, won 40 out of 47 votes in the WFI election.

Ms Malikkh and other athletes have alleged Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and demanded action against him.

“Being a player, I can understand her pain. The only female medallist in wrestling demanded justice but she did not get it. Pained by this, she retired. The image of India in the whole world would increase or decrease?” Vijender Singh, who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and later joined the Congress party, told news agency ANI today.

“The whole sports industry is disappointed. They blame that there is discrimination between boys and girls in Haryana and there are fewer girls. After this, would the parents send their daughters to the stadium?” Vijender Singh said.

“The parents of the daughters would be concerned that if an Olympic medallist is not given justice, how will we get it? The PM, Vice President, and President all should come and answer why this happened… This raises a lot of questions on the justice system and the democratic structure,” he alleged.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran, the protesting wrestlers’ choice for the post of WFI president, had got just seven votes.

Other top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia also expressed their disappointment at the results. Breaking into tears during an interaction with reporters on Thursday, Commonwealth and Asian Games Gold medallist Vinesh Phogat said, “Now that Sanjay Singh has been elected chief of the federation, women wrestlers will continue to face harassment.”

Ms Phogat said she has “no clue how to find justice in the country”. “The future of our wrestling career is in the dark. We do not know where to go,” she said.

Ms Malikkh said they had wanted the wrestling body to get a woman chief. “But that did not happen,” she said. “We fought, but if the new president is Brij Bhushan’s aide, his business partner, then I quit wrestling,” the Olympic bronze medallist said, putting her boots on the table.

In January this year, the three wrestlers led a huge protest at Jantar Mantar, accusing Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing several wrestlers and demanding action against him. They called off their protest after the government ordered a probe. The wrestlers were also assured that no aide or relative of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh would be allowed to contest the next polls of the wrestling body. While Brij Bhushan’s son Prateek and son-in-law Vishal Singh did not enter the poll contest, his aide Sanjay Singh’s nomination was cleared.

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