Following her criticism of the #MeToo protest against federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha met with wrestlers at Delhi's Jantar Mantar. The former Olympian arrived at the protest site and spoke with the wrestlers, assuring them of her support. Despite leaving without speaking to the gathered media, wrestler Bajrang Punia confirmed that Usha had promised help to the players.
PT Usha helps rectify earlier stance
PT Usha's recent meeting with wrestlers comes after her public criticism of the #MeToo protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the federation chief. However, her meeting with wrestlers at Delhi's Jantar Mantar suggests a willingness to work with athletes and address their concerns. Though Usha did not speak to the media, wrestler Bajrang Punia's comments suggest that she has offered her support to players.
"Ms Usha said her comments were misinterpreted and that she is first an athlete and then an administrator. She said she is with us," Mr Punia said.
"She said she will try to resolve all our problems and help us get justice," he said.
Usha's earlier comments on wrestlers protests
Last month, PT Usha admonished the wrestlers for initiating a public protest before the committee assigned to investigate their claims had submitted its report.
"The protest amounts to indiscipline," she had said.
"The players should not have protested on the streets. They should have at least waited for the report of the committee. What they have done is not good for the game and the country. It is a negative approach," Ms Usha said.
Her remarks were met with a strong reaction from the wrestlers, who expressed feeling hurt by her words, as they had hoped for her support.
"We feel hurt by PT Usha's comment. She is not supporting us despite being a woman herself. What indiscipline have we done? We are sitting here peacefully. If we had got justice, we would not have done this," wrestler Sakshi Malik had said.'
We don't know whether she is under some kinds of pressure," wrestler Vinesh Phogat said.