After the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) formed a three-member committee to handle the day-to-day affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the newly-elected president of the sport's governing body Sanjay Singh accused Bajrang Punia and other wrestlers part of the protest of doing politics and said that they were past their prime as players.
The Union Sports Ministry on Sunday suspended the sport's premier governing body in the country along with all its office-bearers. 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).
"These players are past their prime" - Sanjay Singh
"These players are past their prime. Like you must have seen with Bajrang Punia, he lost his last match by 10-0. Now they have left wrestling for politics. Rahul Gandhi went to meet them and wrestled with them on the mat. This is not something players do," Sanjay Singh told ANI.
On Wednesday morning, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had reached Virender Arya Akhara in Chhara village of Jhajjar district and interacted with wrestlers, including Olympian Bajrang Punia. Singh said that the veteran wrestlers who have been protesting do not want junior wrestlers to progress and their protest has brought all wrestling activities to a halt.
"They do not want junior players to progress. They are doing politics, meeting one party or the other. This is causing a lot of losses to juniors since trials are not being held. I have been associated with wrestling since 10-12 years. If I have ever disrespected a wrestler, they should bring proof," said Singh.
"The money and emotions of our citizens made them the stars they are today" - Sanjay Singh
He also questioned the wrestlers about what was his fault that they had started protesting as soon as he was elected president. On wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang returning their awards, he said that it is a personal matter.
"But they should not do so because the money and emotions of our citizens made them the stars they are today," he added.
On further course of action, Sanjay Singh said that the federation will talk to the government.
"The ex-chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir was the returning officer, there were observers from IOA and United World Wrestling. The elections were done democratically. These elections were non-partisan," he added.