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Wrestlers' Stir: Protest Erupts Again, This Time Against Sakshee, Bajrang And Vinesh | Know What's Happening

Today's protest by the junior wrestlers took place at Jantar Mantar as all the national camps and competitions have been on hold since January 2023, as the WFI has been suspended twice and an ad-hoc panel is running the sport.

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Junior wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday
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The long-standing wrestlers' protest that gained enormous support nationwide last year witnessed an unexpected twist when hundreds of junior wrestlers assembled at Jantar Mantar to protest against the loss of one crucial year of their careers. Reportedly, the protesting wrestlers held top grapplers Bajrang Punia, Sakshee Malikkh, and Vinesh Phogat accountable for their loss.

It has been reported that the protesting junior wrestlers and coaches have threatened to return their Arjuna awards if the suspended WFI is not restored within 10 days.

About the protest

Loaded in buses, the junior wrestlers arrived from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, catching the police unaware. As per reports, around 300 of them came from Arya Samaj Akhara in Chhaprauli, Baghpat while many others came from the Virender Wrestling Academy in Narela. Many are still packed in buses and they plan to deboard and join their colleagues when more wrestlers arrive at the landmark protest site.

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The security personnel struggled to control them as they shouted slogans against Punia, Malikkh and Phogat.

The protesters were carrying banners that read: 'UWW save our wrestling from these 3 wrestlers'. 

Wrestlers' protest: Plot twist

Ironically, the top wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Sakshee Malikhh, and Vinesh Phogat who, being the face of the protest against alleged sexual harassment, gained enormous support from almost every corner of the nation a year back, are now facing resistance from within their community accusing them of ruining their careers.

Today's protest took place as all the national camps and competitions have been on hold since January 2023, as the WFI has been suspended twice and an ad-hoc panel is running the sport.

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Those protesting on Wednesday demanded that the suspended WFI be restored after disbanding the ad-hoc panel that has been appointed to run the sport by the sports ministry.

No Issues with WFI if Sanjay Singh is kept away: Sakshee Malikhh

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.The 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist Malik had announced her retirement from the sport on December 21 in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh as WFI President.

"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."

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