Sports

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat Takes A Swipe At Cricketers Amid Jantar Mantar Protest

Protesting wrestler Vinesh Phogat has called out cricketers and other sports personalities for keeping mum on the #MeToo allegations brandished upon WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Vinesh Phogat, left, and Sakshi Malik pictured at the protest in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
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Renowned Indian wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, etc. were back on the streets to demand justice over the sexual harassment allegations they have made against the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The wrestlers have been sleeping, eating and working out on the streets, urging the authorities to file an FIR against WFI president over the 'Me Too' allegations that have been made. As more and more Indian wrestlers join in the protest at Jantar Mantar, Vinesh Phogat has questioned the silence of Team India cricketers and a number of other top Indian sportspersons. (More Sports news)

Speaking to the The Indian Express, Phogat said, "The entire country worships cricket but not even a single cricketer has spoken up. We aren't saying that you speak in our favour, but at least put up a neutral message and say there should be justice for whichever party. This is what pains me... Be it cricketers, badminton players, athletics, boxing..."

"It's not like we don't have big athletes in our country. There are cricketers... During the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, they showed their support. Don't we deserve even that much," she asked.

However Vinesh claimed that the sponsorship deals have been keeping the cricketers and other sports personalities from speaking on the protest. She says, "But we don't know what they are afraid of. I understand that they may be concerned that this could affect their sponsorship and brand endorsement deals. Maybe that's why they are afraid to associate themselves with athletes who are protesting. But it pains me," she said.

"You do come forward to congratulate us when we win something. Even the cricketers tweet when that happens. Abhi kya ho gaya? (What has happened now?) Are you so afraid of the system? Or maybe there's something fishy going on there too? (Unke daal mein bhi kaala hai, yeh maan ke chale hum?)," she added.

Vinesh Phogat went on to say that people who have kept quiet on the matter 'dont' have a heart. "Log kehte hai wrestlers ka dimaag ghutno mein hota hai (People say wrestlers' mind is not in the right place). But I'll say our dil (heart), dimaag (mind)... everything is in the right place. Other athletes need to check where their mind is. Dil toh unke paas hai hi nahi(They don't have a heart)," she said. "You put photos, you put brand collaborations... can't you put one post saying there should be justice for us. That's all we request," she said. "If we don't deserve their support in these times of struggle then, God willing, if we win a medal tomorrow - and we will work very hard for it - don't come to congratulate us. Don't say you had faith in our abilities because you didn't - that's why you are doubting us now," she said.

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