Wrestler Vinesh Phogat Returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards Amid WFI Suspension After Sanjay Singh's Election As President

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat Returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards Amid WFI Suspension After Sanjay Singh's Election As President

Vinesh Phogat is the second protesting wrestler after Bajrang Punia to give up a national sports award due to the turmoil surrounding Indian wrestling.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, December 26, 2023, 07:50 PM IST
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Vinesh Phogat breaks down while addressing media | Twitter screengrab

Superstar athlete Vinesh Phogat on Tuesday decided to give up her Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards amid the controversy surrounding the suspension of the Indian wrestling federation after the election of Sanjay Singh as the WFI president.

Phogat is the second protesting wrestler after Bajrang Punia to give up a national sports award due to the turmoil surrounding Indian wrestling.

Punia had placed his Padma Shri Award in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence last week to protest Sanjay Singh's appointment.

"I am returning my Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award," Vinesh announced through a letter that she addressed to PM Modi on X (formerly Twitter).

Wrestlers vs WFI

On Thursday, Sanjay Singh was elected as the president of the WFI after the panel led by the close aide of former federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh won 13 of the 15 posts.

The wrestlers had demanded that no close associate of Brij Bhushan should enter the WFI administration.

Following the election, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik announced that she would quit the sport.

WFI suspended by Sports Ministry

However, the Sports Ministry had later suspended the newly-elected panel for not following the provisions of its own constitution while taking decisions and also asked the IOA to constitute an ad-hoc panel to manage the affairs of the sports body.

In suspending the fresh panel, the government cited its "hasty announcement" of organising the U-15 and U-20 nationals "without following due procedure and not giving sufficient notice to wrestlers" for preparations.

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