Former India wrestler and Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik on Wednesday accused the wrestlers protesting against her and other veteran wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia of running propaganda against them for former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Singh.
Young wrestlers held a protest against veteran grapplers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat on Wednesday, accusing them of putting all wrestling-related activities to a halt and ruining the future of children pursuing the sport.
"I have given years of my life to wrestling and retired recently so you can tell how stressed I am mentally. There is an IT cell of Brij Bhushan on social media. These protestors are his people and running a propaganda for him. Brij Bhushan was making allegations against us earlier too during the protest," said Sakshi to the media in a press conference.
Sakshi Malik clarified her stand on tussle with WFI
Sakshi went on to clarify that they did not have any problem with the newly elected federation, except for the president Sanjay Singh.
She also went on to say that she welcomes the suspension of newly-elected federation by the Union Sports Ministry. The wrestler also accused Brij Bhushan of targeting her family.
"We only had a problem with Sanjay Singh. We do not have any problem with the new federation body or the Ad-hoc committee. I request PM Modi ji, and Amit Shah ji to ensure that Sanjay Singh has no involvement in WFI. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure our safety. Brij Bhushan (BJP leader & former WFI chief) is targeting my family," said Sakshi.
Sakshi wants junior wrestlers to perform in Paris Olympics
Sakshi said that even though she is retiring, she wants the wrestlers who will play in her 58 kg category to secure a gold or silver in the Paris 2024 Olympics and outdo her bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics.
"I request the ad-hoc committee to hold nationals and camps for U15, U17, U20 categories. No youngster should face any issues," she added.
Sakshi said that it would be great for women wrestlers if women are given some responsibilities in the federation.
"I cannot say that I will step into administration. But If there are some women in the federation, it would be good for women wrestlers, Women wrestlers will be able to go and express themselves freely," she said.
WFI ad-hoc announced Senior National Championships date
The decision was announced following a press release by the ad hoc committee. The senior National Championships will take place from February 2 to 5 in Jaipur and will be orchestrated by the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB).
The tournament will include competitions across senior freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women's categories, providing a comprehensive platform for wrestlers to showcase their talent.
After the conclusion of the Senior National Championships, the National Coaching Camp (NCC) will be conducted.
The men's camp (encompassing Greco-Roman and free style) will be held at SAI NRC Sonepat, while the women's camp will be held at SAI NSNIS Patiala. The NCC will select medalist wrestlers from 30 weight divisions across the senior freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women's categories of the Senior National Championships.
The coaching camp will begin on February 9, 2024, and extend until the Paris Olympics in 2024. The primary focus of the NCC will be rigorous training for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournaments.
These qualifying tournaments include the 2024 Asian Qualification Tournament set to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from April 19-21, and the 2024 World Qualification Tournament scheduled for Istanbul, Turkey, from May 9-12, 2024.
Additionally, the NCC will prepare athletes for the Senior Asian Championships, which are slated to take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from April 11-16, 2024.
The Union Sports Ministry had earlier suspended the sport's premier governing body in the country along with all its office-bearers, including the newly-elected president Sanjay Singh.
At the same time, following its decision, the Ministry instructed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to form an ad hoc committee to manage and control the affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)