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Protesting Athletes “Past Their Prime”: Suspended Wrestling Body President

Following the formation of a three-member committee by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to manage the day-to-day operations of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Sanjay Singh, the recently elected president of the body that oversees the sport, accused Bajrang Punia and other wrestlers involved in the protest of engaging in political activities and claimed that they had outlived their playing careers.

The nation’s top sports authority and all of its office holders were suspended on Sunday by the Union Sports Ministry. Concurrently, the Ministry directed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to establish an ad hoc committee to oversee and manage the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) following its decision.

“These athletes are no longer at their best. Similar to what you saw with Bajrang Punia, he was defeated 10-0 in his most recent game. They abandoned wrestling to pursue politics now. Rahul Gandhi went to confront them and engaged in mat wrestling with them. Players don’t do this, according to Sanjay Singh, who spoke to ANI.

Congressman Rahul Gandhi visited Virender Arya Akhara in Chhara village, Jhajjar district, on Wednesday morning. There, he engaged in conversation with wrestlers, among them Olympian Bajrang Punia.

According to Singh, the protesting veteran wrestlers have stopped all wrestling activities because they do not want the junior wrestlers to advance.

“They oppose the advancement of younger players. They are engaging in political activities, attending various parties. Juniors are suffering significant losses as a result of this, as trials are not taking place. I’ve known people in the wrestling community for ten or twelve years. They should provide evidence if they believe I have ever disrespected a wrestler, Singh said.

In addition, he asked the wrestlers if it was his fault that they had begun to demonstrate the moment he was elected president.

Regarding the wrestlers Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat returning their medals, he stated that it was a private matter.

“But they should not do so because the money and emotions of our citizens made them the stars they are today,” he stated.

Sanjay Singh stated that the federation will speak with the government about the next course of action.

“There were observers from IOA and United World Wrestling, and the returning officer was the former chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir. Elections were held in a democratic manner. These were nonpartisan elections,” he continued.

In view of the latest events, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday announced that Bhupinder Singh Bajwa would chair the newly established ad hoc committee tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) effective immediately. The Union Sports Ministry suspended the entire WFI governing council prior to the IOC’s announcement.

At the ministry’s request, the IOA established the ad hoc committee on Wednesday. In the recently formed ad hoc committee, MM Somaya and Manjusha Kanwar will support Bajwa in managing the WFI.

Following the conclusion of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections last week, there has been a significant change in Indian wrestling.

The wrestlers who were protesting against the former WFI head, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, were greatly disappointed when Sanjay Singh, Singh’s aide, was elected as the new president on Thursday.

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