Bajrang, Sakshi request Anurag Thakur to stop Brij Bhushan-loyalist from contesting WFI polls
Olympic medal-winning wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik on Monday requested Sports Minister Anurag Thakur to stop anyone related to Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, former president of Wrestling Federation of India, from contesting the upcoming polls of the national body.
New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) Olympic medal-winning wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik on Monday requested Sports Minister Anurag Thakur to stop anyone related to Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, former president of Wrestling Federation of India, from contesting the upcoming polls of the national body.
The returning officer for the polls on Saturday confirmed that the WFI elections will be held on December 21 and the results will be declared on the same day after counting of votes.
Two candidates -- Brij Bhushan-loyalist Sanjay Singh and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran -- are in the running for the WFI president’s post.
“Yes, we met with the sports minister today and reminded him of his promise that no one related to Brij Bhushan should contest the WFI elections,” Punia told reporters here on Monday.
“Sanjay Singh is his close associate and he should withdraw from the election race or otherwise we will decide our future course of action soon. We told that to that minister,” said Punia.
Punia also stated that they have no issues with Sheoran as she is a former wrestler and is very well aware of the plight of the athletes.
“We want some former wrestler to take charge of WFI, who at least knows what it takes to win medals for the country. Anita ji (Sheoren) is a Commonwealth Games medallist and understands the demands of wrestlers,” he added.
Punia and Malik had led a two-month-long protest against Brij Bhushan, who has been accused of sexually harassing many young female wrestlers on several occasions. They withdrew their protest after the government promised that no one connected to Brij Bhushan would contest the WFI elections.
Brij Bhushan is currently free on bond as he faces numerous charges of sexual harassment. Having served as an office-bearer for 12 years, the full tenure permitted under the National Sports Code and thus ineligible to contest.
In addition, he promised that no member of his family would challenge the polls. Consequently, both Brij Bhushan, the president of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling body, and his son Karan, the vice president of the same state body, have decided not to contest the elections.
The president of the Bihar Wrestling Federation, Vishal Singh, is the son-in-law of Brij Bhushan and is not contesting the elections.