Sports

Indian Wrestling Controversy: I Am Close To Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh But Not A Dummy Candidate, Says New WFI President Sanjay Singh

Sanjay Singh won most of the votes in the delayed polls, as outgoing chief Brij Bhushan gained indirect control over the national federation

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh loyalist Sanjay Singh won the WFI election on Thursday
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Newly-appointed Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Sanjay Singh on Saturday lashed out at the protesting grapplers for "engaging in politics" and asserted that he is not a dummy candidate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. (More Sports News)

Sanjay Singh, who was elected as the president of the WFI on Thursday, is known to be a close confidante of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who had been accused of sexual harassment by the country's top wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia.

Sanjay Singh won most of the votes in the delayed polls, as outgoing chief Brij Bhushan gained indirect control over the national federation. 

"Those who are athletes have already started preparing and those who want to engage in politics can do that. It is their personal matter, I will not speak about this.

"I have been in the federation for 12 years. Just because I am close to MP (Brij Bhushan) does not mean I am a dummy candidate. Is it a crime if I am close to him?" Sanjay Singh told reporters when asked about Sakshi deciding to quit wrestling after his election to the top spot.

Expressing her disappointment, a teary-eyed Sakshi Malik on Thursday announced her decision to retire from the sport following the wrestling body's elections. On Friday, Bajrang Punia, who is also an Olympic bronze medallist like Sakshi, decided to return his Padma Shri to the government as a mark of protest. 

BJP Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj, Brij Bhushan stepped down as WFI president after being accused of exploitation by top female wrestlers in the country.

Meanwhile, Sakshi said she is worried about the junior wrestlers who have been "calling me about the junior nationals". 

The new body under president Sanjay Singh had on Friday announced that the U15 and U20 nationals will be held from December 28-30 in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.

"I have given up wrestling but I am worried since last night. What should I do about those junior women wrestlers who are calling me and telling me that the junior nationals are going to be held from the 28th and the new wrestling federation has decided to hold it in Nandani Nagar, Gonda.

"Gonda is the area of? Brij Bhushan. Now imagine how the junior women wrestlers will go there to compete. Is there no place in this country to hold Nationals anywhere other than Nandani Nagar? I don't understand what to do." 

The WFI also said the senior National Championships will be held from January 28 in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar.

As a rule, a state association has to show interest in hosting Nationals.

On Thursday, Sanjay Singh was elected as the president of the WFI after the panel led by him won 13 of the 15 posts.

Earlier, Sakshi, Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat had demanded that no close associate of Brij Bhushan should enter the WFI.

The three top wrestlers had accused Brij Bhushan of sexually exploiting several women wrestlers. They had even contemplated throwing away their medals into river Ganga on May 30 in Haridwar but the farmer leaders had convinced them not to take the step.

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