India's top wrestlers, including Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, staged a protest against the Wrestling Federation at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Wednesday. The players were protesting against the "dictatorship" of national federation President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The protest will resume again the today, after the police denied permission.
"Coaches are harassing women, and some coaches who are favourite of the federation misbehave with women coaches as well. They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed so many girls," Wrestler Vinesh Phogat expressed.
Bajrang, Vinesh, Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik, world championship medallist Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha, and CWG medallist Sumit Malik were among 30 wrestlers who have assembled at Jantar Mantar.
"Our fight is not against the government or Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI. We will share details later in the day. 'Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai' (It's a fight to the finish)," Bajrang Punia said.
"The dictatorship will not be tolerated," said another wrestler.
Singh has been at the helm since 2011. He was elected President of WFI for the third consecutive time in February 2019.
"The players make every effort to win medals for the country but the federation has not done anything except downgrade us. Arbitrary rules are being framed to torture the athletes," tweeted Sakshi.
Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, and other wrestlers also tweeted along the same lines with the hashtag BoycottWFIPresident and tagged PMO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"Wrestlers are being harassed by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Those who are a part of WFI know nothing about the sport. Tired of making requests, I had a knee injury in Tokyo, I was made to tweet, and I trained myself for 6 months, but nothing helped" said Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia.
"We want that the management of the Wrestling Federation of India to be changed. We hope the Prime Minister and Home Minister will support us," he further added.
"After the Tokyo Olympics defeat, WFI President called me 'khota sikka'. WFI mentally tortured me. I used to think of ending my life each day. If anything happens to any wrestler, then the responsibility will be on the WFI president," Wrestler Vinesh Phogat expressed.
"The president himself has exploited girls. We will not take names, girls don't have the courage to come forward, our future generation is stuck in this situation, we have come to save wrestling," added Phogat.
The players expressed their demand to give them equipment related to wrestling and make sure that the coaches appointed do not misbehave with women