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Newly-Elected WFI President Sanjay Singh To Challenge Government Suspension In Court

In a bold response to the government's suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), newly-elected president Sanjay Singh vows to challenge the decision in court, asserting the autonomy and democratic foundation of the wrestling body.

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Sanjay Singh (right) with Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (left)
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In a swift response to the sports ministry's suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) just three days after the organization's elections, newly-elected WFI president, Sanjay Singh, has declared his intention to challenge the government's decision in a court of law. The ministry cited constitutional violations, particularly related to decisions such as the announcement of the U-15 and U-20 National Championships, as grounds for the suspension. However, Sanjay contends that the suspension lacked the adherence to proper procedure and fairness.

Sanjay, emphasizing the autonomy of the WFI as an "autonomous" and "democratically elected" body, expressed dissatisfaction with the government's move, asserting that the suspension occurred without affording the WFI an opportunity to present its side of the story. He underscored that such an action contravened the principle of natural justice, which he believes every entity is entitled to under the Constitution of India.

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Sanjay outlined his plans to engage in discussions with the government and pursue legal action if the suspension is not revoked promptly. In rejecting the three-member ad-hoc committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to manage the day-to-day operations of the WFI, he reiterated his commitment to challenging what he perceives as an unjust suspension.

In a parallel development, Sanjay criticized Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik, accusing them of engaging in political maneuvering and being supported by political entities. Specifically highlighting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to an akhada in Haryana, he asserted that the trio is aligning with political parties. Sanjay urged the athletes to prioritize wrestling over politics and took a swipe at Bajrang for leaving his Padma Shri on the road, characterizing the act as one that goes against broader national sentiments.

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Beyond the national discourse, Sanjay revealed that he had written to the United World Wrestling (UWW) seeking the lifting of the ban imposed on the WFI by the international governing body. Expressing optimism about receiving a favorable response from the UWW, he emphasized the democratic conduct of the recent WFI elections and the necessity of holding the U-15 and U-20 National Championships for the development of young wrestlers.

Addressing concerns surrounding the decision-making process within the WFI, Sanjay clarified that the venue and dates for the U-15 and U-20 National Championships were determined with a full quorum during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at a hotel in Delhi post-elections. Responding to queries about the absence of the newly-elected WFI secretary general from the decision-making process, Sanjay indicated that the secretary general was invited but did not participate, leaving his intentions unclear.

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